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A software product goes through several cycles of testing to ensure quality delivery to the customer. Besides verifying the system end to end, one other testing comes into picture namely Alpha Testing. It is important testing which verifies the software just before its delivery to the customers. To define, Alpha testing is the testing which testers perform at their own lab or environment before the product delivery to real users for their acceptance. Clearly, the idea of alpha testing is to catch as many bugs possible to ascertain customer satisfaction.
In the last article, we have seen Acceptance Testing. Alpha and Beta are the phases of acceptance testing.
What is Alpha Testing
Alpha testing is the testing at the developer’s site which happens before the delivery of the product to the customer for their acceptance. Thus, the goal of Alpha testing is to uncover the maximum number of bugs before the product goes to the customer’s environment. Later, customers may perform beta testing which is the acceptance testing at customers environment.
When to do Alpha Testing
Testers do alpha testing as a final round of testing happening at the development site. Therefore, they perform it after all testings like unit, integration, system testings like regression and performance are complete. Alpha testing is part of acceptance testing. After, alpha testing the product is shipped to the customer for their acceptance testing which is called Beta testing.
Features of Alpha Testing
Alpha testing is characterized by the following features:
- QA testers with or without developers perform the Alpha testing.
- It is done at developers site in their lab or in QA test environment.
- Alpha testing is done after regression and performance testings.
- It is part of acceptance testing which is done at developers site.
- It can be a white box or black box or mix of both.
- The tests in Alpha testing are end to end and target at finding the maximum number of bugs before the product goes to the real users or the customers.
Advantages of Alpha Testing
Alpha testing offers several advantages in ensuring the quality delivery of the product.
- It identifies bugs or issues or problems before they go to the real customer. Hence, it is an important phase of testing critical to the success of the overall projects.
- The tests cases verify the product end to end against functional and business requirements as per the user’s perspective. Thus, it detects the showstopper problems early before the product goes to the client.
- It increases the confidence of the customer by providing a clear outlook into the current state of the product.
Alpha Testing Steps
Let us look at the typical life cycle of alpha testing for any project.
The QA team in collaboration with other stakeholders like project manager, BAs and product users do planning for the alpha testing. The typical planning of alpha tests looks like:
- User requirements analysis for validation during the alpha test.
- Alpha test plan development
- Test case development
- Alpha testing environment setup.
- Test data setup
- Decide exit criteria
- User requirement specifications
- Completed product
- Alpha test plan
- Test environment and Test data
- Exit criteria
- QA or Dev environment at the developer’s site
- Alpha Testers Execute the test cases
- Register the test results and decide on pass and failure
- Register the bugs in the bug tracking tool
- Developers fix the bug
- Re-test the bugs and mark them resolved.
Evaluation of Exit criteria
- Test execution percentage should be met
- Issues should be retested
- Code coverage should meet the minimum requirement
- Document the known issues in the release documents
- Prepare the test report
- Evaluate the test report
- Evaluate the exit criteria
Confusion between Alpha & Beta testing
At times, people confuse Alpha testing with Beta testing but both are different in terms of their implementation and objective. Though both together form the acceptance testing phase each caters to the different goal of testing. Beta testing is the testing performed by the real users of the product in their business environment to assess if the product meets their business expectations.
Difference between Alpha and Beta Testing
Below is the difference between Alpha and Beta testing in detail.
|QA testers and developers of the organization which develops the product do the alpha testing
|Reals users or the customers do the Beta testing of the product
|Testers perform alpha testing in dev or QA test environment
|Users perform Beta testing in a real business environment
|The objective of Alpha testing is to find as many bugs as possible before the product goes to the customers
|The objective of Beta testing is to assess if the product serves its business usability and if it is stable in the business environment
|The bugs should be fixed the release.
|The bugs can become part of the next releases of the product.
|It increases the confidence of all the stakeholders like developers, management and customers in the product.
|It builds the confidence of the real business users that product meets its business goals.
|Alpha testing involves both white box and black box testing techniques.
|Beta testing involves only black box testing technique
|Alpha testing verifies the product against the functional and business requirements
|Beta testing verifies the product’s usability, stability, reliability, and robustness in the production environment
Alpha testing is an important testing cycle which is done by testers or the developers of the organization developing the product. Indeed, the goal of alpha testing to provide quality delivery to customers. Also, alpha testing is the last testing which testers perform at their site. Post this, users test the product as per their business requirements. Undoubtedly, planning an effective testing strategy is crucial to the success of Alpha testing.