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A Summary of

How to run a successful beta in 7 steps

by
Nicholas Sainsbury
Intercom
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Understand Why You Are Running a Beta

  • Understand the problem that you’re trying to solve
    • What do you want to learn as early as possible?
  • Not every feature needs a beta.
    • E.g., Intercom decided it would be easier to release and learn for a new feature because it required considerable volume, and developers were working on tight deadlines.

Paint a Picture of a Successful Beta

Use success metrics to have something tangible to compare progress to.

Consider Who Should Get Access

  • Start a conversation with customers who have requested the feature.
  • Start with a small rollout and then increase the audience based on adoption and feedback.

Pitch Effectively

  1. Stress to the customer that it is a beta to set expectations.
  2. Describe the problem.
  3. Describe the solution with visuals.
  4. Ask for feedback.

Get Direct Feedback

  • Call customers early on.
  • Before the call, review what they have and haven’t done, and jot down the qualitative questions you care about them answering.

Make Sense of Beta Feedback

Create a spreadsheet to track feedback. Include: 1. Original feedback 2. Type of feedback 1. E.g., Improvement, comprehension, or usability 3. Summary of feedback 4. Reason for an issue

Decide When to Ship

  1. Set a timeline as a forcing function for actions.
  2. Consider:
    1. Do you feel confident that you have solved the problem?
    2. Is it replacing something that exists already?
    3. Does your marketing team want to announce at a particular time?
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