Alpha & Beta Testing
What is Alpha testing?
Alpha testing is a type of acceptance testing; performed to identify all possible issues/bugs before releasing the product to everyday users or public. The focus of this testing is to simulate real users by using black box and white box techniques. The aim is to carry out the tasks that a typical user might perform. Alpha testing is carried out in a lab environment and usually the testers are internal employees of the organization. To put it as simple as possible, this kind of testing is called alpha only because it is done early on, near the end of the development of the software, and before beta testing.
What is Beta testing?
It is also known as field testing. It takes place at customer’s site. It sends the system to users who install it and use it under real-world working conditions. A beta test is the second phase of software testing in which a sampling of the intended audience tries the product out. (Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet.) Originally, the term alpha test meant the first phase of testing in a software development process. The first phase includes unit testing, component testing, and system testing. Beta testing can be considered “pre-release testing.
Alpha testing v/s Beta testing
|Alpha Testing||Beta Testing|
|1. It is always performed by the developers at the software development site.||1. It is always performed by the customers at their own site.|
|2. Sometimes it is also performed by Independent Testing Team.||2. It is not performed by Independent Testing Team.|
|3. Alpha Testing is not open to the market and public||3. Beta Testing is always open to the market and public.|
|4. It is conducted for the software application and project.||4. It is usually conducted for software product.|
|5. It is always performed in Virtual Environment.||5. It is performed in Real Time Environment.|
|6. It is always performed within the organization.||6. It is always performed outside the organization.|
|7. It is the form of Acceptance Testing.||7. It is also the form of Acceptance Testing.|
|8. Alpha Testing is definitely performed and carried out at the developing organizations location with the involvement of developers.||8. Beta Testing (field testing) is performed and carried out by users or you can say people at their own locations and site using customer data.|
|9. It comes under the category of both White Box Testing and Black Box Testing.||9. It is only a kind of Black Box Testing.|
|10. Alpha Testing is always performed at the time of Acceptance Testing when developers test the product and project to check whether it meets the user requirements or not.||10. Beta Testing is always performed at the time when software product and project are marketed.|
|11. It is always performed at the developer’s premises in the absence of the users.||11. It is always performed at the user’s premises in the absence of the development team.|
|12. Alpha Testing is not known by any other different name.||12 Beta Testing is also known by the name Field Testing means it is also known as field testing.|
|13. It is considered as the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) which is done at developer’s area.||13. It is also considered as the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) which is done at customers or users area.|
Entry and Exit criteria
Entry Criteria for Alpha testing:
- Software requirements document or Business requirements specification
- Test Cases for all the requirements
- Testing Team with good knowledge about the software application
- Test Lab environment setup
- QA Build ready for execution
- Test Management tool for uploading test cases and logging defects
- Traceability Matrix to ensure that each design requirement has alteast one test case that verifies it
Exit Criteria for Alpha testing
- All the test cases have been executed and passed.
- All severity issues need to be fixed and closed
- Delivery of Test summary report
- Make sure that no more additional features can be included
- Sign off on Alpha testing
Entrance criteria for Beta Testing:
- Sign off document on Alpha testing
- Beta version of the software should be ready
- Environment ready to release the software application to the public
- Tool to capture real time faults
Exit Criteria for Beta Testing:
- All major and minor issues are closed
- Feedback report should be prepared from public
- Delivery of Beta test summary report
Advantages & Disadvantages
Advantages of Alpha Testing:
- Provides better view about the reliability of the software at an early stage
- Helps simulate real time user behaviour and environment.
- Detect many showstopper or serious errors
- Ability to provide early detection of errors with respect to design and functionality
Disadvantages of Alpha Testing:
- In depth functionality cannot be tested as software is still under development stage sometimes developers and testers are dissatisfied with the results of alpha testing
Advantages Beta Testing
- Reduces product failure risk via customer validation.
- Beta Testing allows a company to test post-launch infrastructure.
- Improves product quality via customer feedback
- Cost effective compared to similar data gathering methods
- Creates goodwill with customers and increases customer satisfaction
Disadvantages 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
Alpha testing (first Greek alphabet) helps simulate real time user environment before the software is sent for Beta Testing and helps shape a stable software candidate eligible for Beta Tests.
No matter how many tests you perform, how many bugs you kill, your software is useless if your users do not like it. Beta testing (second Greek alphabet) helps provide authentic feedback of your software from real users.