In this week’s Women Behind Betabound series post, we interviewed two of our rockstar Beta Managers: Michelle and Rebecca. Cumulatively, these women have helped manage around 50 of our clients’ beta tests, so they’re experts in the behind-the-scenes of our Betabound Exclusive tests. Rebecca and Michelle manage these tests by recruiting and selecting testers, responding to testers’ feedback (bug reports, open discussions, feature requests, journal entries), and communicating with the product’s development team about their product’s overall beta performance.
We interviewed Michelle and Rebecca about their roles and the skill set female beta testers bring to the table.
Michelle has managed beta tests at Centercode for the past year and enjoys video games, Pokémon, cosplay, and being an all-around cat lady.
Q: What is it like to manage a Betabound beta test?
A: Every test is a learning experience. Every product is different, and every client wants to learn different things about their product. A fun fact is that we read everything submitted by testers and then we pass all that information onto our clients. Their feedback, combined with the huge variety of tests we manage, means every day is a different experience as a beta manager.
Q: What about women makes them good beta testers?
A: Women are great at writing detailed journal entries. It’s a skill our clients find really helpful in getting an overall perspective on a product’s usability — what they like about the product, what they find easy to use, what could be improved, or what makes the product buy-worthy. In my experience, our male testers seem to be more focused on finding bugs, and can be less detailed or descriptive in their journal entries. Yet, these paragraphs of product information are usually the most valuable to our clients.
Q: What are some unique skills female testers bring to the table that clients appreciate or specifically seek out?
A: Women are great at providing feedback regarding a product’s overall design or interface. They offer unique insights about how approachable a product is out-of-the-box and first glance interpretations of a product’s key features — just like Monica’s feedback in the recent Silicon Valley episode! As a beta manager, I’m especially appreciative of this kind of user experience or overall usability feedback. I make sure to call out and highlight these concerns to my clients during their beta test with us before their product gets too far down the line.
Q: What is one of your most memorable experiences as a beta manager?
A: We tested a product for a popular tech company that thought their product was ready for release, but just needed to iron out a couple of bugs in a beta test with us. Turns out, our testers found a major defect that forced the company to stop production of the product so it could be fixed. Our testers found the issue, reported it quickly, and saved the company a lot of money in manufacturing costs, returns, customers service, and all-around disappointed customers. They made a huge impact in this product’s success story, which was definitely a memorable experience to be a part of!
Ultimately, Michelle believes in the value of recruiting more women into our community, especially as Centercode increasingly runs more usability and product readiness types of beta tests. In her opinion, that’s an area where women really excel, and Beta Managers can gather a lot of critical feedback about a product.
Rebecca has worked at Centercode for the past two years and is passionate about scuba diving, photography, and playing with her self-described derpy husky dog, Archer.
Q: What is it like to manage a beta test?
A: It’s a bit hectic, but rewarding. Hectic because we’re juggling multiple beta tests that can represent very different product types, so we have to be very well-rounded and well-versed in all types of technology while being skilled at time management. Despite the chaos managing beta tests is incredibly satisfying when, at the end of a test, you can see how much a product has improved based on testers’ thoughts and feedback.
Q: What about women make them good beta testers?
A: Women offer unique insights. They’re really good at describing a product’s user experience by sharing in-depth reviews — journal entries specifically. In my experience, women tend to be more expressive about a product, and it’s these emotions that make for really meaningful journal entries. Our clients want to know testers’ feelings, judgements, or thoughts about different aspects of their product so they can plan their product’s marketing strategy accordingly when they’re ready to launch.
Q: What’s the biggest stereotype about female beta testers you’ve heard?
A: Sometimes people assume women don’t give good feedback or aren’t good testers because they’re too busy. In my experience, there’s a general mentality that women are too busy with their families, housework, etc. to beta test — but that just isn’t true. As a beta manager, I’ve never had a woman drop out of a test because of these reasons.
Q: As a female beta manager, what unique perspective do you bring?
A: I’m really analytical, and I like to dig into data to observe underlying trends in a product’s feedback that may have been overlooked. At the end of the day, it’s those trends that are causing a product to not be well received by testers. I think this awareness of customer acceptance is a trait many of our female testers are privy to as well. Generally, women tend to be the keepers of the home, so they’re hyper aware of integrating products that are well received, or perform well, into making their lives more efficient.
Rebecca’s biggest piece of advice to female beta testers would be to show their passion. According to Rebecca, “We’re actively looking for female beta testers in our tests. When testers apply, there’s an open-ended question we ask that’s really important. In answering this question, we really want to know if you’re a good fit for this specific project. As a tester, don’t be afraid to share an in-depth response about how this beta product could integrate into your life, especially how it might solve a specific problem. For example, I recently recruited testers for a vehicle back-up camera beta test. A mother of two explained how this product would be helpful in her everyday life because she’s concerned about accidentally hitting one of her small kids. That was a real world case that our client would be looking for.”
Michelle and Rebecca are two of our best Beta Managers and truly excel at encouraging testers, supporting our clients, and exploring all facets of a beta product. We’re always excited to hear their insights and to share those perspectives with you! If there are any questions you’d like to ask Michelle or Rebecca, feel free to ask them below or email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.