You’ve tested your product or service in-house and now you want to beta test it to see how it performs in the real world with actual users and get their feedback. 

Your team’s excited!

They’re off and running to get it going and do their part.

Group of people running off in all directions.

That's great, but…

If you want success not chaos, you need to get everyone dancing to the same tune.

Group of men doing synchronized dance moves.

You need a plan. 

One that gives everyone the steps to success.

First step to a successful beta test?

Creating a well defined plan.  

A Beta Test Plan can be written many different ways but should include a few essential topics that define:

  • What you’re going to do

  • How you’re going to do it

And captures approval to proceed.

Define What You’re Going To Do

Flaticon IconGoals/Objectives

>> Define the goals or objectives you want to achieve

>> Should be specific and realistic

Why? Provides clarity, sets expectations for test outcomes.

TIP: The rest of the test plan is designed to achieve the goals/objectives therefore get them approved before writing the rest of the plan.

Give It A Try

Flaticon Icon

Body Alive is an online fitness company that sells membership subscriptions. They want to beta test their new online account sign up process.

Which of the following is the most effective way to write a specific and realistic test objective for this?

A) Test the performance of signing up for our membership site with users.

B) Test new user satisfaction with the account sign up flow for our membership site.

C) Test how easy it is for users to use the new features on our membership site.

D) Test how users like signing in to our new membership site.

Quiz

Choose the correct answer below.

D

C

B

A

Define How You’re Going To Do It

TIP: Creating a plan is not a one person job, it’s a collaborative team effort.

Flaticon IconFlaticon IconScope 

>> Scope defines the work the beta test is going to focus on; it defines the boundaries of the project.

>> Specify both what's IN and OUT of scope, what is and is not going to be tested — A completely new product? A specific piece of a product? User flow? New feature?

>> Who're you testing it with — Existing users? New users? Power users?

Why? Keeps the project focused and contained.

Flaticon IconTest Approach 

>> Type of test being done — there are many types, e.g., functional, user acceptance, technical, etc.

>> Product version being tested — so you test using the correct version

>> Number of test cycles — duration and focus of each

>> Test data required for each cycle (if any) — e.g., you may need credit card data to test a payment system

>> Testers — who they are, how they’ll be recruited, onboarded to start the test, and incentivized to test and provide feedback

Why? Provides the team with the flow and details of how the test will work.

Flaticon IconRisks and assumptions

>> Potential and/or known risks and possible mitigation strategies

>> Assumptions made — your test approach is based on these

Why? Be proactive, not reactive.

Give It A Try

Flaticon Icon

Body Alive has identified scope creep as a potential risk because of comments the owners have made about also wanting customer feedback on new website images.

Which of the following is an effective mitigation strategy the team could take to proactively manage this risk?

A) Explain the why behind what’s in and out of scope and gain written approval before completing the entire test plan. 

B) Schedule regular and recurring update meetings with the team to discuss progress.

C) Email communication updates to the project team to keep them up-to-date.

D) When a scope change is requested, explain the impact on the project and reconfirm priorities.

Quiz

Choose the correct answer below.

A

B

C

D

Define How You’re Going To Do It (Cont'd)

Flaticon IconFeedback

>> The type of user feedback you want to collect — e.g., bugs, comments, feature requests

>> Process(es) to collect each type — e.g., testers will log bugs in an online bug tracking tool and include a screenshot image

>> Criteria for evaluating it — e.g., define bug types — critical, high, medium, low, cosmetic bugs

Why? Capturing feedback is the reason for doing the test.

Flaticon IconFlaticon IconTest Entry & Exit Criteria

>> The conditions that must be met to start and end a test cycle.

>> Examples:

  • Entry criteria — stable product release, no critical or high bugs, an approved beta test plan

  • Exit criteria — no open critical or high severity defects, 95% of medium defects have been closed

Why? Ensures effective execution of testing activities.

Flaticon IconTools 

>> Tools required to run the test and collect each type of feedback, how they’ll be used and who has access to each

>> Think about: 

  • What software will be used to communicate with participants — Email? Text? Online portal?

  • What software will be used to collect feedback — a Google doc? a bug tracking tool?

Why? Automates and optimizes your testing process.

Define How You’re Going To Do It (Cont'd)

Flaticon IconProject Team 

>> Identify the project owner, contributors, and roles and responsibilities of each

Why? Ensure the right people are in the right roles before you start.

Flaticon IconSchedule 

>> List key milestones with dates and responsibilities

>> Common milestones:

  • Meeting dates: project launch, check-ins, wrap up  

  • Test cycle start and end dates

  • Recruitment period for testers

  • Distribution of key communications

Why? Keeps people on-track.

Flaticon IconBudget 

>> Costs to run the test

>> Think about: tools required, marketing, participant recruitment and incentives, etc.

Why? Avoid surprises. (Varies widely based on scope, complexity.)

Capture Approval To Proceed

Flaticon Icon Get stakeholder approval

>> Sign-off form that captures name, title, signature and date for each approver 

Why? Get the buy-in you need to proceed with confidence.

Take Action

Start today!

Create a blank Beta Test Plan template that contains the essential topics that:

Then, when you’re ready...

Use it with your team as the basis for planning your next beta test.

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This Byte has been authored by

DD

Daina Dunlop

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dainadunlop/