Alpha & Beta Testing

Alpha & Beta Testing

Do you want to build a great product?

Do you want to serve a large audience and satisfy your customers with your product?

Do you want to save thousands of dollars by avoiding hindrances in the development of your product?

Do you wish to sustain the market for a long period of time?

If yes, then Alpha and Beta testing is the answer for you to ensure you achieve all the above!

So what is it?

Alpha and Beta testing (Acceptance testing) help in building confidence to launch any product and should guarantee its success and user satisfaction.

They generally increase the lifespan of a product and are driven by distinct strategies, processes and goals.

They give insights on:

  1. How a product is being used by customers
  2. Discovery of new bugs in an already tested product
  3. Usability of the product
  4. Feedbacks on improvements needed 

Alpha testing

This is an Internal Acceptance testing performed in-house by the developers and Quality Assurance(QA) teams. This is usually done in a closed, virtual environment.

Beta testing

This is an External Acceptance testing that is done by a focused group of customers. They can be external user groups, actual customers or even employees in the same company. This is done in an actual production environment. 

Even though a company tests its product thoroughly, it is often not possible to check and validate all possible combinations of testing. Beta testing comes to rescue at this point and promises to get valuable feedback from customers that can be implied on the product before releasing it to a larger audience.

Why use it?

These methods thus reduce a lot of costs incurred to fix or implement features that may go wrong after the product is rolled out to market.

Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google etc. always do Alpha and Beta testing before they reach the mass audience, thereby gaining more trust in the product’s success and customer satisfaction.

Now, let us have a look at the differences between the two types:

Alpha Testing Beta Testing
Basics Phase of Customer Validation First phase Second phase
Performed at site Develop site, test environment Real environment
Activity Can be controlled Cannot be controlled
Testing Only functionality, usability is tested. Reliability and Security testing are not usually performed in-depth Functionality, Usability, Reliability, Security testing are all given equal importance to be performed
Technique White box and/or Black box testing Only Black box testing
Name of Build released Alpha Release Beta Release
Issues / Bugs They are logged and fixed by the developers at high priority They are collected from real users in the form of suggestions/feedbacks and are considered as improvements for future releases.
Use Case Helps to identify the different views of product usage as different business streams are involved Helps to understand the possible success rate of the product based on real user’s feedback/suggestions.
Test Goal Evaluate Quality of the product Customer satisfaction
Ensure Beta readiness Release readiness (for Production launch)
Focus on Finding issues/bugs Collecting suggestions/feedback and evaluate them effectively
Answers to Does the product work? Do customers like the product?
Timeline Testing begins After System testing After Alpha Testing
Product development state 70% – 90% 90% – 95%
Product build stability Stable for developer Stable for real users
Duration Test Cycles Many Only 1 or 2
Duration of each Test cycle 1 – 2 weeks 4 – 6 weeks
Other factors Duration depends on the number of issues found and number of new features added Test cycles may increase based on real user’s feedback/suggestion
Stakeholders Developers, Quality Assurance Team, and Product Management Team Product Management, Quality Management, and User Experience teams

Stages of Testing

  1. Pre Alpha
    • The product is still a prototype.
    • All the features may or may not be complete.
    • The product is still not published at this stage.
  2. Alpha
    • The product is close to it completion in development.
    • It is currently being tested for issues by the internal teams.
  3. Beta
    • The product is not stable and is released to a limited number of users.
    • The goal now is to receive and study customer feedback and make changes to the product accordingly. 
  4. Release Candidate
    • All the relevant changes are made, issues are fixed and the product is ready to be released.
  5. Release
    • Everything is now working smooth.
    • The product is rolled out to market.


Alpha Testing:

  • Provides a better view of the product reliability at an early stage
  • Helps simulate real-time user behaviour and environment
  • Ability to provide early detection of errors with respect to design and functionality

Beta Testing:

  • Reduces product failure risk via customer validation
  • It allows testing post-launch infrastructure
  • Improves product quality via customer feedback
  • Cost effective compared to similar data gathering methods
  • Creates goodwill with customers
  • Increases customer satisfaction


Alpha Testing:

  • In-depth functionality cannot be tested as the product is still under development stage.
  • Sometimes developers and testers are dissatisfied with the results of alpha testing

Beta Testing:

  • Test Management is an issue. As compared to other testing types which are usually executed inside a company in a controlled environment, beta testing is executed out in the real world where you seldom have control.
  • Finding the right beta users and maintaining their participation could be a challenge
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