What is Alpha Testing?
Alpha Testing is a preliminary software testing performed to identify bugs before releasing the product to real users or public. It is a type of acceptance testing.
This testing is referred as an alpha testing only because it is done early on, near the end of the development of the software, and before beta testing. Check Differences between Alpha testing and Beta testing
The main objective of alpha testing is to refine the software product by finding (and fixing) the bugs that were not discovered through previous tests.
Alpha testing is typically performed by in-house software engineers or QA staff.
It is the final testing stage before the software is released into the real world.
Who are involved in Alpha testing?
Alpha testing has two phases,
- The first phase of testing is done by in-house developers. They either use hardware assisted debuggers or debugger software. The aim to catch bugs quickly. Usually while alpha testing, tester will come across to plenty of bugs, crashes, missing features and docs.
- While the second phase of alpha testing is done by software QA staff, for additional testing in an environment. It involves both black box and white box testing.
So, alpha testing can be envisioned as an online application that is not completely ready for the usage but has been opened up to get some initial feedback.
Alpha Testing Strategy
Usually, an alpha testing takes place in the test lab environment on a separate system. In this technique, project manager teams up with the developer to define specific goals for alpha testing, and to integrate the results into evolving project plans.
As such alpha testing is done on a prototype, in-depth reliability testing, installation testing, and documentation testing can be ignored.
A good alpha test must have a well-defined test plan with comprehensive test cases. Various activities involved in alpha testing are logging defects, fixing defects, retesting, several iterations, etc.
Although Alpha testing is not completely functional, QA team must ensure that whatever is on hand should be thoroughly tested, especially those which has to be sent to the customer.
For best practice, QA team should gather early all additional information like usability feedback on an alpha stage storage code, look and feel of the software, navigation scheme, etc.
Also, e-mail to the customer citing all the details about the test is recommended to make the customer aware of the current condition of the software.
How to do Alpha Testing
- Review design specification and functional requirements
- Develop comprehensive test cases and test plan
- Execute test plan
- Log defects
- Retest once the issues have been fixed
Advantage of Alpha testing
- Better insight about the software's reliability at its early stages
- Free up your team for other projects
- Reduce delivery time to market
- Early feedback helps to improve software quality
- Alpha testing is an early version of software product
- The objective of Alpha testing is to involve customer deep into process of development
- A good alfa test must have a well-defined test plan with comprehensive test cases
- It gives better insight about the software's reliability at its early stages