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Alpha Vs. Beta Software Testing: What Is the Difference

Alpha & Beta are the User Acceptance Testing methodologies that help to build confidence in launching a product successfully. Both testing types rely on different goals, strategies, and processes. When these two types of testing are performed together, it may increase the lifespan of a product and makes a product more adaptable by customers, businesses, enterprises, etc. This blog gives you a clear idea of Alpha Testing and Beta Testing, and how are they different from each other.

Alpha and Beta testing are usually performed on already tested products to discover the hidden bugs and also give you a clear picture of how real users will use the products. It helps in gaining real-time experience before the launch of a product, and valuable feedback can be implemented to make a product more usable, functional, reliable, and secure. Testing goals may differ based on the process followed in the project. Both of these testing techniques can save thousands of dollars when you plan large-scale software releases.

A Quick Introduction to Alpha Testing

Alpha testing is usually done after the system testing by the testing team and developers together. It helps in finding hidden bugs that are not possible to discover through other types of testing. Alpha Testing is a must-have requirement before releasing the product for Beta Testing. It is a popular type of User Acceptance testing that helps to increase the overall success rate of a software product.

quick not on beta testingThis phase mainly covers:

  • Major Bugs
  • Usability or Functionality Issues
  • Compatibility Issues
  • Features mismatch

Again, Alpha testing is done in phases:

  • Pre-alpha Testing: Take an example where the UI of the product is ready but the main features are not implemented yet. This is the stage where a prototype of the product should be reviewed and it has to be checked for future enhancements.
  • Alpha Testing: Alpha testing is done when software build is almost ready and initial QA formalities are completed in advance.

Alpha testing is usually done in cycles where each cycle takes 7 to 15 days as per the complexity of the project. Multiple cycles may be conducted to discover hidden bugs that were not detected earlier. If multiple cycles are needed for a specific product then test cases can be automated as needed and test cases are usually referred to as Alpha tests.

Considerations: 

Adoption of Alpha testing at an early stage is a wise decision that can help in understanding users’ point of view while using the product. It helps in meeting product objectives successfully and leads to customer satisfaction.

A Quick Introduction to Beta Testing

It is the testing stage followed by the Alpha test cycle. It is the stage when companies release software to a few external users or customers outside the company. It is done to collect feedback from outside users and making improvements accordingly. Keep in mind all suggestions are not relevant but a few of them are certainly need to consider to make the particular software build better and more reachable to customers. 

Read: What is Software Testing & Different Types of Software Testing?

Beta TestingIn brief, we can say Beta testing is another common type of User Acceptance Testing that is performed by real users in the outside environment. Also, it makes the product release more optimum and chances of product failure are almost negligible. Beta testing helps in fixing issues that cannot be discovered by in-house testing types before releasing the product to the public. 

Beta testing is done by a group of the testing team and real users to validate the clients’ requirements. It significantly reduces the releasing cost of a product and the overall development costs as needed. Also, you can fix various minor glitches before releasing the software build to the market. Till now, many big companies like Google, Microsoft, Adobe have use Beta testing for most anticipated software apps.

For example Microsoft released Windows 10 Beta recently based on the feedback collected from thousands of users to release a more stable version of the windows operating system. Previously, Apple also released OS X Beta and fixed many minor issues based on user’s feedback.

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Purpose of Beta Testing

Beta Testing gives a depth overview of the true experience gained by users while using a product.  It can be used for a variety of reasons with the major objective of improving the overall quality of a product. 

Till the time, the product goes through multiple validations like functionalities, technicalities, installation, product usage, etc, we can’t be completely sure of how users will react when the product is launched in the market. Beta Testing will help in capturing those reactions that are not possible to discover when testing a product in-house within an organization.

Further, you may check the product for real-world compatibility and how it will behave on different platforms, operating systems, etc. Because of some security issues, the product cannot be given to everyone for trial. This testing helps to discover all possible bugs or gaps in the final product. There are a few bugs that may result in product failure if not managed well. 

This type of testing can manage those bugs smartly and makes the product ready for deployment. When performing Beta testing, you should keep in mind that all feedback or suggestions are not relevant. You have to work on them internally and decide wisely which suggestions need to be implemented. 

How to perform Beta Testing?

  • You have to define the project objectives in detail while performing different types of software testing regressively.
  • You have to decide which areas need to be tested and which can be skipped. It would be great if you can validate features one by one. 
  • You should decide in advance which testing parameters to consider on priority. It can be scalability, functionality, usability, security, etc. 
  • You should check on the project schedule and budget carefully. Also, make a list of tools that can be utilized during the Beta Testing.
  • Design an effective feedback collection technique. Also, check on entry and exit criteria carefully.

Beta Terminologies

Read: Software Testing Tutorial - Study Guide for Every Beginner in 2020
  • Beta Software: It is the software build released to the public before the final release of a product.
  • Beta Version: It is the software version released to public with a limited feature and a few bugs may also available into that software build.
  • Beta Testers: These are the testers working on Beta versions or Beta software to release a more powerful product in the IT marketplace.

Alpha vs Beta Software Testing – Comparison in Detail

Basic Understandings

Alpha Testing Beta Testing
In the customer validation stage, alpha testing is the first phase. In the customer validation stage, Beta testing is the second phase.
Alpha testing is usually done by developers in the testing environment, so it is possible to manage activities.  Beta Testing is usually done in the real environment; hence it is not possible to control activities. 
Only a few parameters are considered during Alpha testing like Usability and Functionality.  Beta testing covers almost all functionalities like Usability, Functionality, Security, and Reliability, etc.
Alpha testing is based on both white box and black box testing techniques. Beta Testing is based on black-box testing techniques only.
Software build deployed after Alpha Testing is Alpha Release. Software build deployed after Beta Testing is Beta Release.
Before Alpha testing, you must perform the system testing. Alpha testing is done before Beta Testing.
Issues or Bugs are reported directly and fixed by developers at a high priority. Bugs are collected from users directly and considered for improvements in the future release.
Products have to be checked from different views within an organization. Feedback for a product is collected from real users.

Alpha vs Beta Testing Goals

It is usually done to improve the quality of a product. It is done to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
It makes the product ready for Beta Testing It makes the product ready for release.
It is more focused on finding bugs. It is more focused on collecting feedback.
It checks the functionality of a product. It checks either customers like your product.

Alpha vs Beta Testing – When to Perform?

Alpha testing is done when the product is almost 70 percent complete. Beta testing is done when the product is more than 90 percent complete.
There is little scope for enhancing features or functionalities. There is no scope for enhancing features or functionalities.
Before alpha testing, the product should be stable from a technical point of view. Before beta testing, the product should be stable for customers or real users.

Alpha vs Beta Testing Duration

A number of cycles are conducted for Alpha Testing. Only one or two cycles are performed for Beta Testing.
Each testing cycle may last for 7 to 15 days. Each testing cycle may last for 30 to 45 days.
The test cycle may depend on the total number of bugs found in the software product. The test cycle duration depends on the feedback of real users.

Alpha vs Beta Testing – Entry Criteria

Alpha tests are designed to fulfill the business requirements. Beta tests are designed to fulfill customer requirements.
Before you start, the traceability matrix is a must-have requirement. There is no need for a traceability matrix.
Tools setup is vital for bugs management. Tool setup is vital for end-user feedback management.
System testing should be done in advanced. Alpha testing should be done in advanced.
Environment setup for build creation and testing. There is no need of environment setup

Alpha vs Beta Testing – Exit Criteria

Testing cycles must be completed before to exit. All cycles should be complete before to exit.
Major issues should be fixed by developers on priority. Potential issues should be taken care of well by the team.
An effective review should be done by participants. An effective review should be done by customers.
Alpha Test Summary Report. Beta Test Summary Report.
All test cases should be executed well. Alpha & Beta testing should be done.

Alpha vs Beta Testing – What are the Pros & Cons?

Alpha Testing Benefits:

  • It helps to find bugs that were not possible to discover in initial testing activities.
  • It makes the product more functional, usable, and reliable.
  • You can identify potential risks associated with the project before to launch it into the market.
  • It makes the product more trustworthy to be used by customers.
  • It reduces the overall project costs by fixing bugs at an early stage.

Alpha Testing Cons:

  • Not all functionalities of the product are expected to be tested.
  • It works within business requirements, not from the customer point of view.

Beta Testing Benefits:

Read: What is Regression Testing? Regression Testing Tutorial Guide for Beginners
  • At this phase, you are not sure of testing activities because users may analyze the product through any perspective.
  • It helps to discover bugs that were not detected during the Alpha testing stage.
  • It makes the product more reliable, functional, and secure than usual.
  • Real feedback or suggestions from customers can make the product more desirable and robust.
  • It helps to increase the overall customer satisfaction by increasing the reliability of the product.

Beta Testing Cons:

  • The testing scope may or may not be followed by participants.
  • It is tough preparing documentation and it is generally time-consuming too.
  • Not all feedback or suggestions should be considered.
  • It is not easy to manage test cases.

Final Words:

Alpha and Beta Testing both play a very important role in making a product successful. I hope this blog must have helped you in understanding both types of UAT testing easily. Also, now, you must have a clear idea of when to perform both types of testing during the test cycle of a product. Keeping these considerations in mind, it is possible to deliver a high-quality product that meets business requirements and results in ultimate customer satisfaction.

QA Quiz

What’s Next?

Alpha & Beta testing is of utmost importance for the success of a project that increases the demand for Alpha testing professionals and Beta testing professionals who can perform all testing activities. It also boosts the overall number of job options for testing professionals. 

So, if you are planning to enter the testing world, then it will be a fruitful choice that will improve your career graph on a definite basis. Also, Alpha and Beta testers take higher salary packages when they are skilled and knowledgeable. 

To earn a certification in QA Training, or to acquire all necessary skills, you must join the online QA testing program right away. It will help you in taking a step towards a successful journey and get an opportunity to work with leading companies worldwide.

Read: Software Development Life Cycle VS Software Testing Life Cycle (SDLC and STLC)



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