When you’re a new tester, it can be hard to know what to do in order to be considered a ‘good tester’. Out of all the possible skills and attributes you could develop, which ones are most valuable to a beta team?
It’s easy to feel intimidated by the experienced testers who you see submitting tons of feedback and spending hours each day with the product. As great as their performance might seem, do you really need to be able to devote hours each day to your test in order to make a notable contribution? To answer this question we sat down with a few of our beta managers to hear what they had to say. We identified four common attributes that good testers share, which are all attainable for even the most novice of testers.
The first attribute for a good beta tester is being responsive. When you’re running a beta test, it’s important you have testers that are responsive. The more quickly testers respond to activities (like tasks and surveys), the more valuable the feedback. The sooner issues or trends get on a beta team’s radar, the more time they have to flesh out and resolve the problem. It also maximizes the amount of time your fellow testers have to comment on that feedback and help provide a clearer picture of what’s happening. It’s often far more valuable to a beta manager to have a tester that responds to questions and activities quickly than one that focuses on submitting as much feedback as possible.
Another attribute beta managers covet is feedback clarity. It doesn’t matter if a particular piece of feedback is one sentence, a paragraph, or longer, as long as what’s being said is clear, thoughtful, and gives as complete of a picture as possible. That’s why it’s important that any steps a tester includes in their feedback are easy to follow. This can be critical for feedback like bug reports. Anything a tester can add to make replicating a bug easier (including uploading a video or screenshots) can be incredibly helpful.
The best feedback is often not big, product-transforming ideas. Products that are being beta tested are only weeks or a few months away from their release date, so usually product teams can’t add large new features or make major changes (unless the beta test uncovers a major bug). Any big ideas you submit will be considered for future versions of the product, but probably can’t be added for this round.
Where beta testers can make the biggest difference is by giving small insights into how to make the customer experience better. Look for ways to make the installation process clearer, or small additions that would make the current feature set easier to use. A good tester will be able to give more feedback than just big nice to have features, by also submitting small ideas and tweaks that can make a big difference in the user experience.
Anybody who goes beyond just submitting their own feedback and also collaborates on the feedback of other testers is a great tester. Testers who take the time to interact with other testers and the beta team are well on their way to becoming an all star in our community. Why? It shows you’re interested it more than just your personal experience with the product, and you’re willing to put in some extra effort to help with the issues other testers are having.
The principle is similar to what we look for in journal entries. Good effort doesn’t necessarily mean a fourteen page entry over a few paragraphs. Instead, testers who post regularly (even if it’s in smaller amounts) about their daily experience with the product offer the best chance of providing invaluable feedback that can improve the product.
Ultimately, good testers are those who are engaged with the test. You don’t have to log in every single day, but you should use the product daily. Quality is always better than quantity and we’re looking for testers that give thoughtful feedback. Don’t sugar coat your feedback or feel like you have to tell the beta team what you think they might want to hear. Tell the truth and be open and honest about how your real life experience of the product was life. As any beta manager will tell you, it’s not about collecting only positive or negative feedback. What really matters is capturing testers’ true experience with the product.