Topic: Project Release Question

If you all could help me think through this I'd be very appreciative. I've been working on a project for a few months now and I'm getting to the point of taking that next step and releasing it into the wild as a package for purchase.

We all know testing is good, and I know there are a lot of people who ask a group of beta testers for their reactions and suggestions in exchange for a free copy of the software. So, the question is this: do any of you have any experience with this sort of scenario where things went well, or any advice about keeping things from going "not so well"?

I appreciate the advice, thanks everyone.

Re: Project Release Question

I think the idea of Beta also helps drum up traffic.  You could list it as a 'free beta' and put it in your meta data . . . hopefully if people like your product they will tell their friends about it.  I've never done it myself but if I were to do so I'd roll this way

Live with the wonder of a child, pray with your arms thrown open wide, love with a love that has no end; until I see you again ~ Mark Schultz

Re: Project Release Question

Might want to check with Ryan, he just released DonorTools after a beta test period. I've managed beta testers at the software company I worked at years ago. One suggestion is to keep in close communication with your testers on a regular basis.

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Project Release Question

Whoops! I forgot to include Ryan's contact info - here's his website

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Project Release Question

Thanks for the ideas, I'm definitely interested in beta testing but I have just been a little uncertain as to how to go about it. Your feedback has been very helpful. Thanks!

Re: Project Release Question

I learned a lot from our beta test period for Donor Tools. We did a very long private beta, followed by a short public beta.

The most valuable learning happened during the private beta, when I was using Donor Tools for my church and another organization. Since I was actually doing some of the data entry, it provided me with real-world insight into how the app would be used. Feedback from the other users was equally valuable, since they were looking at from a perspective of less experience and different expectations. Our public beta was good also, but I found that most people who signed up were just curious, and weren't actual prospects, so I didn't get as much feedback as I had hoped for. However, for the purpose of catching bugs and working out details in features, it was invaluable.

The "beta" concept seems a bit hackneyed, since these days it feels like it is usually used as a sort of a cop-out for unfinished software. It can be a tool to build buzz, given the right audience. Mainly, a good, well organized beta period can give you some helpful insight and catch many bugs before your project goes out into the world.

Ryan Heneise  |  Art of Mission  |  Now with extra-strong Donor Tools mojo

Re: Project Release Question

That sounds about like how I would have expected, because I know for me at least I sign up for public betas only if I'm curious about a project. And I am cautious that people will think that I'm using them to find bugs whereas I'd really be looking for how useful and functional the project is for actual users. So those are really good points you bring up. I think, probably, the next thing to do would be to start organizing the process for testing. Thanks again for the advice, it's really, really helpful.

Re: Project Release Question

Can I be a beta tester?

Ryan Heneise  |  Art of Mission  |  Now with extra-strong Donor Tools mojo

Re: Project Release Question

Actually, after I heard back from you all I went home and started the process of organizing. I'm just putting some finishing things together and I'll be looking for testers. So, I'll definitely let you know when it's ready. Thanks!

Re: Project Release Question

It took me longer than I expected to get to this point, but I'm going to quit dragging my feet and announce that I'm ready to start some limited beta testing.  I'm going to have to put a limit on the number of testers just to make sure that I can support everyone. If you sign up I'll give you a copy of the project in return for feedback and your thoughts about the project in general. If you're interested, take a look at the temporary project page for details about the project and signup if you'd like to be a tester.

Or, you could just email me directly. smile

Thanks again everyone!

Last edited by luz cannon (2009-02-05 09:55:56)