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Traditional offline functions like sales, product delivery and support have increasingly morphed into digital experiences that go well beyond the scope of your IT team.
It stands to reason then, that non-technical teams should be invited to participate at strategic points of the software development lifecycle, which is precisely why many organisations are turning to in-house beta testing challenges.
Six Benefits Of Employee Beta Testing
Get Feedback That Testers Might Miss
One benefit of the in-house beta challenges is that team members often have a deep understanding of products and services. This allows you to capture extra nuances from their feedback.
For instance, a professional tester or customer wouldn't necessarily identify if a disclaimer was missing from the bottom of a sign-up page. Chances are they wouldn’t realise it was supposed to be there in the first place. An internal team member, on the other hand, may immediately notice this because of their expertise.
Build Better Products Faster
Adding or changing features impacts deadlines and budgets - the deeper you are in the product development lifecycle, the more exaggerated the blowouts will be. In-house testing allows you to gather critical insights from team members who best understand the problem the software is trying to solve.
This might sound like common sense, but all too often, there’s too little consultation with end users when designing an app or website. In-house testing helps overcome this by providing a platform for you to gather feedback across your organisation early in the development process. This can help you uncover critical insights that literally make or break the software.
Facilitate Change Management
Even the best software can be undermined by poor change management.
In-house challenges give you a means of getting teams across new tools as early as possible. This allows you to collect valuable insights around key workflows, engage team members in the change process and demonstrate your commitment to their feedback and input. Doing this simplifies and streamlines the adoption of new tools.
Generate Discipline-Specific Insights
The old saying goes: if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In other words, if you only have technical testers reviewing your site, you’ll only get technical feedback. Inviting various departments within your organisation to join tests inevitably expands your toolbox.
So it stands that marketing teams will find different bugs to software support teams, sales teams will almost certainly uncover different errors to product teams, and so on.
See The Forest For The Trees
An even simpler argument in favour of employee test challenges is simply to get a fresh set of eyes.
Developers, and even dedicated testers, can become too close to a piece of software leading to assumptions and oversights. Bringing in non-technical team members allows you to test with a clean slate free from biases.
Increase Test Coverage
Another less obvious benefit of employee testing is that you expand your test coverage. Inevitably, different team members use different devices, browsers and display settings, which allows you to see how your software performs out of the controlled environment of the IT department. Naturally, you should always perform more methodical and meticulous cross-device and cross-browser testing, but this is a good place to start.
How To Start Your Own Employee Beta Test
Even if we agree employee beta testing is a good idea, how do you make it happen?
Traditionally organisations have gathered feedback in two ways:
Using ad hoc email threads and messy spreadsheets.
Using complex tools that you need a Ph.D in web development to operate.
Both are cumbersome, both feel like work and both will get suboptimal engagement.
Fortunately, there is a better way. The quickest and easiest way to set up an in-house employee beta test is using Bugwolf’s own testing platform. We make it simple for you to:
Register test managers and participants
Invite and notify teams when a new challenge is launched
Monitor and review issues and feedback
Incentivise teams to provide deep insights
Collect technical feedback from non-technical teams
Categorise issues and prioritise them by severity
Fast-track the remediation of bugs
Here’s a quick overview of the process.
How To Setup An In-House Beta Challenge
Step #1: Create A Clear Testing Plan
Like any test, the first step is to create a clear plan. This will streamline the rest of the process and ensure you accomplish what you set out to achieve. When planning, work through the following five questions:
WHO will be involved?
Clearly outline which teams will participate and who is responsible for managing the process.
WHEN will the test be run?
Set dates and timeframes for the test, confirm scheduling with all required personnel and decide on test duration (i.e. how long will the challenge run for and why?).
WHAT is the scope of the test?
Clearly outline which assets and workflows will be tested (and which will not). This helps keep the workload manageable and ensures that you only collect feedback that you actually intend to take action on.
WHERE will participants test?
Specify which devices participants should and should not use. Non-technical team members won’t necessarily know that different browsers and devices will sometimes lead to different output, so encourage them to think outside of the box.
WHY are you testing?
Testing for the sake of testing is pointless. And not taking action on valuable feedback is a quick way to demotivate teams. Clearly list your goals and next actions you will take after running the test.
HOW will you incentivise participants?
At Bugwolf we incentivise our professional testers with prizes and rewards for finding bugs. If you want to engage and motivate participants, we suggest you do the same. This begins with deciding on what rewards you’ll offer and on what basis.
Step #2: Educate Participants
Next, share your plan with participants. Explain what the process looks like, how they’ll be testing and why their input is important.
It’s critical you set expectations and ensure the whole process is seen in a positive light, rather than being viewed as a chore. After all, their active participation will lead to much more valuable insights.
Don’t assume that others understand the value of software testing. Educate all relevant team members about the bigger picture and how their feedback will affect stakeholders within the business.
Step #3: Create A Bugwolf Account (New Users Only)
If you’re not already registered for Bugwolf, you’ll need to sign up before you can get started. You can sign up for free by clicking HERE. When you are ready to start your first test, simply follow the prompts to place your order.
This is also the best time to download Bugwolf Capture, our simple screenshot and video app. Capture lets you record your screen, demonstrate bugs and provide voice commentary. This makes it easy for developers to review, replicate and resolve all issues.
Step #4: Invite Team Members To Join
Next you will invite your team of beta testers to join the challenge. To do this, first create a new challenge. At the top of the new challenge page, you will see a field where you can add new participants.
Simply add the emails of the team members you’d like to invite. From there, they will receive an email notification prompting them to join your challenge.
Step #5: Complete Your 2-Minute Test Brief
The next step is to outline the scope of your test challenge. Here is where you can specify the schedule, features, operating systems, browsers and test types you’d like to focus on. This will only take a moment, but it is critical for explaining where participants should focus their attention.
Step #6: Start Testing
When the time and date of the challenge arrives, team members are able to login and begin reporting bugs and issues.
Reporting bugs is easy. Simply click “New Bug Report” and complete the required details. We recommend using Bugwolf Capture, our screen recording tool, to record all bugs. Capture automatically saves to the file storage solution of your choice and provides a URL that can be added to the bug report and passed into other systems like Jira, Slack and Trello.
Step #7: Monitor The Test In Real Time
During the challenge, team members will be able to see how long is remaining in the challenge (there’s nothing like a deadline to speed things up!).
As a team manager, you can review all bugs and issues in real time and provide feedback and direction to the team. For example, if the team has spent a lot of time focusing on one feature, but has not reviewed another, then you could ask them to move on to the other feature. Likewise, you might ask people to test using a certain device to provide greater coverage.
Step #8: Review Bugs & Feedback
Once the challenge is complete, it’s time to review the bug reports, rank them by severity and tally the final scores. Bugwolf’s simple issue tracking interface makes it a breeze to do all of the above.
Bugwolf’s scoring system is simple and transparent. Participants are rewarded based on the volume and severity of bugs they report, making it easy to find the winning tester at the end of the challenge.
At this point you can remove duplicate reports, adjust the severity ranking of bugs and decide which fixes you’ll get in place immediately, and which will be added to backlog. It’s easy to transfer reports into other tools like Jira and Trello - this is especially true of video bug reports which are easily shared across platforms.
Step #9: Debrief With All Testers
Once the testing is complete, remember to debrief with the teams involved. Depending on their proximity to the project, they may not see it again for some time. It’s important to reiterate the value of their input, talk about next steps and generally make teams feel appreciated. Remember, digital quality is an ongoing pursuit, so it’s important teams feel welcome and motivated to provide their input.
Existing Bugwolf clients are invited to conduct their own in-house beta employee challenges on demand. To find out more, speak to your test director.
If you are new to Bugwolf and would like to learn more about how to get started, the quickest and easiest way to find out more is to Request A Demo by clicking HERE.
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