A few months ago, I wrote about how to prepare for a software beta trial and what to do to get the most out of it. In this follow-up post, I’ll talk about what to do after the beta is over and the data is in.
Hopefully, during your software beta trial, you collected feedback via a survey. In the past, I’ve had success using a gift card reward or raffle to incentivize survey respondents. After the beta trial, it’s time to get crunching and identify any similarities or patterns in answers. Often, it can be tempting to take one-off feedback to heart. However, looking for aggregate feedback is often a great place to start.
After aggregating feedback, I found it helpful to select a few participants who had interesting or common ideas in the survey to conduct an interview. During the interview, you can ask follow-up questions and get more in-depth thoughts from the user.
In addition to surveys, where the user gives conscious feedback, usage and logging data is another avenue to explore after the beta. Some common questions you may want to ask are,
- How long are people interacting with the tool?
- What pages or information are they clicking on most?
- Which areas are unused?
- What kind of searches are users doing?
- What features are used the most?
You can include the automated collection of this kind of data in your code with an analytics tool like Google Analytics.
Address Bug Reports
Undoubtedly, users probably reported some bugs or problems during your software beta trial. It can be tempting to go ahead and add these all to your project management backlog. I think doing that would be a distraction and would slow progress on features. Instead, adding them to a separate tool where you can aggregate and analyze them first will save your team from jumping right into bugs. In my experience, some things that get reported as bugs are sometimes, instead, features users would like. It is a product decision to prioritize those items or discard them.
My previous post suggested techniques like focusing on your end goal and encouraging users to promote the tool. What you do after the software beta trial is also important and improves the chances of success.