You often read news items about a new press having been installed at a beta site but it’s not a topic that gets much of an airing apart from the odd news bulletin, is it?
And that got me thinking.
What is considered to be a successful beta test? And why should we care?
Well, if you do care, you are not just going through the motions to get your press out of the door. You are more likely to be focussed on delivering a good product. You probably view beta testing as an opportunity to make changes for the better and to help improve product management. You care what comes back because you want to develop a good product. It’s important to you to get understandable and useful data.
So what do you want to know? Your beta test should provide you with proof points as to why your printer is going to be successful in the market. “Real” users will use and abuse your press and put it through its paces in a way that your own internal hardware and software engineers will not. Any weaknesses will be exposed. And you’ll get closer to your customer by working together with them in a way that just wouldn’t be open to you if you didn’t run a beta program.
The thing is how do you extract meaningful data from your test? And how do you rule out those problems that have nothing to do with your press, such as humidity, ambient temperature, the way the site is being operated?
Somehow you need to control the environment that the beta test is conducted in and approach the beta test in quite a formal way to rule out any subjectivity that might creep in.
We’ve got some ideas on how to achieve this which I’ll share in another post. But I’d be interested in hearing how you do it. What are your top tips?