Beta Testing

The second sub-phase of a BigBangTesting session. When you have useful product, you release it and let the customers participate in the Big Bang. Of course without taking things for granted. Always good to stay alert.

Big companies like MicroSoft will release when the known bug list subsides to a "MostlyHarmless" level. This lets all the programmers in their vassal states play with the product before the peons are allowed to pay for it, to prepare for the rollout.

On the project I'm currently working on, the project manager and customer support team work collectively as an on-site CustomerProxy, and continuously test the FrequentReleases that get built. However, we have now entered what is being called the BetaTesting phase, which essentially means that some of the releases get marked "beta x", and shipped to real customers to test. The implementation emphasis has also shifted from implementing new features to modifying existing ones in light of feedback; every time the application does something different from what is expected we label this a bug, even if it just means that we hadn't actually thought through the particular corner case (in this case, the so-called bug is essentially a new UserStory). This has the side effect that we can track the changes through our bug tracking software. Before each new release the project manager then prioritizes the "bugs" to implement in the next iteration, much as he prioritized features earlier in the development cycle.

Note that our BetaTesting began before all the features had been implemented, once we had a useful product to give customers to test.

-- AnthonyWilliams

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