Defines testing and review activities to run a software release through its final paces internally before being exposed to an external customer.
What this is
During this phase the Software Release is run through its final paces internally before being exposed to an external customer. Various activities take place during the Alpha phase in preparation for giving some selected Beta customers the first versions of the Software Release.
Testing is completed by going through cycle of identifying, categorizing, evaluating, fixing, and re-testing defects or "bugs". The number of bugs found should be lessening in comparison to Phase 7 system testing, and the stability of the system should be increasing.
Why it's useful
This is the final phase before releasing the software to external customers in the Beta phase. That pre-release to real customers will be the "first impression" they have of the software. During the Alpha phase, the release team decides what levels of stability, quality, performance, etc. are required before allowing that first impression to occur. (See also the ProjectConnections guidelines on Completion Criteria and our Software Quality Release Criteria template).
As the final internal testing is being completed and defects are fixed, the Beta Support Team and Customer Support teams are preparing their documentation and receiving training. The Release Team, Product Management, Technical Publications and others are preparing the final versions of user guides, installation documentation, quick start guides, etc.
How to use it
Use the deliverables below to ensure that thorough testing is done during alpha; the team has a process for identifying and correcting defects; and the team creates the materials needed by the customer for the Beta-level software.
Not documented here are the parallel life cycle paths the individual projects are progressing through to provide their project-specific quick starts, user guides, customer support training and documentation, etc.
NOTE: In this and the following phases, the term "Derivative products" is used to identify stand-alone products that may be used in conjunction with the release or not. Since this is a general software release process and each company will have its own way of partitioning the release and the software code base, this term is inclusive of any project, application, client, server, etc. that can be viewed as a separate product by the customer.
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