What is Alpha Testing?
Alpha testing is simulated or actual operational testing performed by the potential users or customers or an independent test team at the developer’s site, but outside the development organization. In alpha testing, the test takes place at the developers site, a cross-section of potential users and members of the organization are invited to use the system, developers observe the users and note down the problems.
Why do We Need Alpha Testing?
It is the responsibility of the software team, both developers or testers to perform the final test on the software application when all the modules of the software, hardware components are integrated properly before the software is ready to release to the end-users for beta testing. The main aim is to quickly check, find and fix software bugs that were not discovered previously or newly introduced due to some reasons.
Some of the main objectives are given below:
- Understand the behaviour of software applications from an end-user point of view.
- The main objective is finding the defects newly introduced when the software is almost developed.
- It is performed to gain confidence whether the build is stable enough to be ready for release to the end-users.
- It uncovers the defects that may arise due to user misbehaviour with the application.
How does Alpha Testing Work?
Talking about how exactly Alpha testing works, there is a systematic and detailed procedure followed for that. The first step is the design specification in which all the functional requirements and core functionalities of applications are reviewed by the developers and testers. Then the test plan, test suite including all the detailed test cases are created by the QA team. After this, the developed test cases are tested by the testers or the developers involved in testing and the bugs raised during testing are handed over to the developers for a quick fix. Once fixed, the bugs are again tested by the testing team to proceed with the result of testing to a higher level to take action accordingly. According to the final results, the stability and quality of the software product are judged from the end-user point of view.
There are basically 2 phases involved in performing Alpha testing:
- First Phase: It is performed by developers or software engineers with the aim of finding many bugs like crashes, installation issues, features missed by developers, etc.
- Second Phase: It is performed by the QA team which involves many testers and QA Engineers. Proper test suite having all the detailed test cases created are executed and the quality of the software is analyzed before releasing it for beta testing.
There are Entry and Exit criteria followed for the Alpha testing of an application.
- Business requirement and Software requirement documents.
- Test cases for the whole software.
- Test environment set up for the execution of the above test cases.
- Tool set up for the defect logging and test result updation.
- Traceability matrix in order to ensure that each test requirement is covered.
- All the test cases created for Alpha testing are covered.
- Delivery of testing status reports.
- All the major issues/ critical functionalities have been covered.
- Make sure that the logged issues have been fixed by the development team and retesting has been done by testers.
- Sign off from Alpha testing.
Advantages of Alpha Testing
Some of the advantages are given below:
- Gains the software team’s confidence before releasing the software application in the market.
- Uncovers many defects that may arise in real-time and cannot be detected in the testing environment.
- It gives a better insight into the reliability of the software application.
- Helps in gaining client satisfaction if minimum defects are found in beta testing and most of them are covered in alpha testing.
- One of the biggest advantages of Alpha testing from releasing the software from the market point of view is that it helps in the early release of software if everything has resulted well in this testing.
- It helps in improving the quality of software by each feedback.
Disadvantages of Alpha Testing
Though Alpha testing is very important before releasing the software application to the end-users. But there are some of the disadvantages that need to be kept in mind by both the developers and testers before performing it like:
- If the defects are left in the functional testing during the development stage, they remain uncovered in this as the main motive of Alpha testing is checking the user acceptability. It is not the in-depth testing of each requirement of software application.
- The alpha testing environment is a replica of the production environment but still, some unnecessary defects arise because of some environmental issues which are unreal in the production environment.
- Again in-house developers and testers perform the Alpha testing, sometimes they ignore the defects due to release deadlines.
- For large projects, already gone through so much rigorous testing, performing Alpha testing on them is time-consuming as there is a very probability of bugs but proper test plan, test cases, documentation work needs to be done which indirectly a reason for release delay.
- Alpha testing for small size projects is not worthy enough. Time efforts are proportional to cost in an IT project, which in turn increases the project budget.
- Only business requirements are covered in Alpha testing.
The above description clearly explains Alpha testing and its importance in the real world. Though we cannot say that any software application is defect-free at any stage. But it is the responsibility of the software team to deliver a quality product to the end-user and for this alpha testing is performed to verify the software with proper test plan and documentation from the user’s viewpoint and is considered one of the vital testings before the software release.
This is a guide to Alpha Testing. Here we discuss the need, working, advantages and disadvantages of alpha testing. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –