The Differences Between Alpha and Beta Testing

Most software and hardware products in the tech industry go through alpha and beta testing. These testing phases are used to discover defects and adjust the products so they function flawlessly by the time they reach the consumer.

Alpha testing comes first and occurs toward the end of the development process and when the product is nearly fully-usable. Quality control and associated engineers spend a long time testing the product for bugs. During this phase the product is tested by engineers, company employees and perhaps a few “friends and family.” Bugs are discovered, critical issues are fixed, and features are changed and/or added. It has been said that alpha testing is all about methodology, efficiency and regimen – setting well-defined benchmarks and measuring a product against those benchmarks.

At the conclusion of alpha testing, beta testing begins. The task now is to ensure release readiness. Typically occurring weeks (or sometimes even days) before a product release to the general public, beta testing usually involves not only the entire product team, but a professional resource for quality assurance. The objective now is to take the feature-complete application and ensure that it functions as designed not only on a supported platform but on the myriad of systems in the target demographic. Defects are logged by QA, addressed by the development team, and reassigned back to QA for verification/regression.

Once beta testing has been comprehensively completed, it’s time for the product release party!

Evan

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