Ensuring the product readiness from user's perspective not only delivers confidence in the system but also helps in assessing user's needs and expectations, which may be used to improve or upgrade the quality of the product before its market release. User acceptance testing methodology comprises of two of the essential testing types to carry out in-house testing and off-site testing of the developed system; alpha testing and beta testing.
What is Alpha Testing?
Alpha testing is an on-site user acceptance testing of the software product prior to release of the product to clients/users. It is carried out at developer's site by the group of skilled testers, at the time of the completion of software development process. This group is independent of designing team.
This group is independent of designing team. The main intent behind alpha testing is to emulate the real-user environment, through black-box and white-box testing approach.
Phases of Alpha Testing
Alpha testing is the final testing done by the company in two phases before its release.
- First phase of alpha testing consists of internal developers of the organization who are responsible for carrying out the initial alpha testing with help of debugging software so as to locate bugs, quickly.
- In second phase, developer's tested software is being handed or passed over to testing/QA team for additional testing of the application against user's needs and requirements in the real-environment.
When to Perform Alpha Testing?
As soon as the software develops and it passes all different levels of testing, it is finally subjected to user acceptance testing where alpha testing is performed initially followed by the beta testing.
How to Perform Alpha Testing?
Alpha testing of the software encompasses following activities in a sequential manner:
- Studying and analysing the specified and available requirements and specifications.
- Based on the outcomes of step 1, test plan along with the set of extensive test cases is defined and developed.
- Execution of the test plan and the test cases.
- Logging the identified and detected bug found in the application.
- Re-testing of the application post bug-fixation process.
Features of Alpha Testing:
- Alpha testing is done near to completion stage of software development.
- It is, usually carried out in labs, thereby provides specific and controlled environment.
- Alpha testing generally involves testing on the software prototype.
- It may be seen an in-house testing as testing is performed by internal developers and testers within the organization.
- No public involvement and early detection of bugs.
- As testing is performed at developer's site, it enables developer to record the error with the ease to resolve found bugs, quickly.
- Alpha testing helps in gaining confidence in the user-acceptance of software product.
- It is preceded by unit, integration & system testing and followed by the beta testing.
- Black-box and White-box testing are two techniques to achieve alpha testing.
- Alpha testing ensures the maximum possible quality of the software, before passing it to clients for executing beta testing.
- It is generally done for testing software applications, products and projects.
Advantages of Alpha Testing:
- Alpha testing simulates the targeted environment for the software product along with the real-time users actions.
- Alpha tests are useful in detecting defects, especially in design and functions at an early stage of testing.
- Defects may be fixed or resolved, subsequently and quickly after their identification.
- Helps in gaining confidence for the user acceptance of the developed software product.
Disadvantages of Alpha Testing:
The difference between the tester's test data for testing the software, and the client or customer's data from their own perspectives may result into deviation in the software functioning.
Although lab environment is used to simulate the real environment, still lab cannot furnish all the requirements of the real environment such as multiple variants of conditions, factors and circumstances.
Alpha testing does not involves in-depth testing of the software product.
Every software product needs to undergo through important testing methodologies, before getting entry pass for the highly competitive market. Alpha testing is indeed one of the vital testing that needs to be considered for going through complete functionalities of the software and achieving confidence in its user-acceptance for the real-environment, before its release in the market.
Find out the points of differences between alpha and beta form of user acceptance testing in our article Alpha Testing Vs Beta Testing.