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Launchpad runs a continuous beta program, as well as special beta test campaigns. Access to the beta program is governed by membership in the launchpad-beta-testers team. There are around 1000 beta testers and we encourage enthusiastic users to join that team to get the very latest functionality in Launchpad.

Some major features *require* a beta test phase, but mostly the beta testing is useful for gaining feedback and for creating excitement around new work that has been delivered.

There is a user facing page about this at https://help.launchpad.net/BetaTesting

Continuous betas

All Launchpad servers run the latest QA'd code from the Launchpad developers. We have a facility to enable new code paths on a per-team basis. Significant new work that is ready for beta testing is turned on just for the developers and the beta test steam.

Special beta campaigns

We also run regular special beta campaigns, where we ask our beta testers to try a specific feature that is in beta, and give us feedback, before we make that feature available to the wider user base. We aim to have one feature in special beta testing at any point.

Rationale for the beta program

The beta program brings us:

Passionate users are essential!

Probably the most important element of the beta program is that it is a team of nearly 1,000 people who have been interested enough in Launchpad to want to sign up to the team, receive some email and chat with others. We really should interact more directly with this team, it will be fantastic to have a mailing list for the team so folks who are *really* interested can sign up to that.

People do not stay passionate if they don't have active conversations with other passionate users. They want to feed this habit, they want to participate, they want to be drivers and conductors as much as passengers in this race. The beta program is a GREAT opportunity to make our best users feel like they are in the drivers seat, specifically with regard to features we HAVE ALREADY IMPLEMENTED. The great thing about the beta program is that the discussion is not about something we might schedule to start work on in six months, it's about something that is ABOUT to be revealed to the whole Launchpad audience. So ideas, tweaks, innovations, improvements are really timely.

We need to treat the beta team with some just-for-you surprises now and then. Every month, we want to have a special campaign of code that is on edge.launchpad.net but only visible to beta testers. Read http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/05/the_case_for_ea.html if you haven't already - its all about giving your best users something special, something just for them.

Beta campaign best practices

So, down to the nuts and bolts. This is what it takes to run a really good special beta campaign. Every developer in Launchpad is entitled to have a feature they are working on get a special beta campaign. Consider it a privilege!

Implementing beta campaigns

It's easy to run a beta campaign!

Good luck, enjoy it!

PolicyAndProcess/BetaTesting (last edited 2011-04-06 20:47:04 by lifeless)