It’s that time of year again. The time when you turn up your thermostat, drive countless circles in the mall parking lot, finalize your travel itinerary, and overindulge in just about everything. It’s the holiday season!
For some people, beta testing may sound like a fun way to spend their free time off of work (or school), but the reality is, many people don’t anticipate the amount of time that the holidays may demand from them. There are certain variables that you should weigh before deciding whether or not it’s a good idea for you to commit to a beta test around the holidays. These factors make for a very interesting time of year for beta testing. Let’s take a closer look.
First of all, the holidays are crazy and unpredictable. One of the most challenging obstacles that beta managers deal with every day is maintaining a steady rate of participation amongst their testers. This becomes exponentially more difficult when you throw in the many distractions that the holidays bring. Family gatherings, travel, shopping, holiday parties, not to mention all the shiny new things you’ll receive that may completely divert your attention from the product you’re supposed to be testing.
Also, companies do understand that their beta testers lead normal, busy lives, so you need to be sensitive to everything that may keep you from participating. For example, if you know you’re going to be traveling and away from home, you may not want to apply for that new smart home beta opportunity you heard about.
If you do decide to partake in a beta test, you should know that companies usually won’t expect you to actively participate on the actual day of a major holiday. However, on the days before and after, you should certainly expect to log in and give feedback. Because of these unproductive days, some companies will choose not to run their tests during this time or extend their test to run longer to make up for the lost days.
Companies have to consider that their staff will probably be off during the holidays, as well, so they may decide that it makes sense to put a test on hold and wait until after the new year. As a result, be prepared for companies to change schedules or extend tests during the holidays as things change. Do your best to be flexible and communicate regularly with your beta manager.
The fact of the matter is, the holidays can be a very tricky time of year to participate in a beta test. You should first evaluate your plans for the holidays, then decide whether or not you’ll be able to budget the time to participate in a test. If you simply don’t see yourself having enough spare time to actively engage in the test, just wait until the new year to apply for your next one. We promise there will be lots of companies launching new products next year that will need your help. Happy holidays from Centercode and Betabound!