Beta testers, mentors program? How do you solve it?

In one way, you could say that a forum like this can act as both a beta test and a place for a mentors program.

People help… yes. You know all know you place in the chain! Sometimes you have the question, sometimes the answer. It is good.

But how do you proceed!? How do you take beta testing and mentor one step further? But at the same time, without going public!?
I all understand big companies. They simply invite people to use the software. But for me, I’m not such company and I don’t have the resources or the opportunity to invite many people “just to try”!

My software is more similar as to build the roller coaster!
In such sense, I mean, the whole whole thing actually needs to be build before the actually problems occurs and can be fixed!

There is no such thing as a “roller coaster demo build”. Yes, you can build the 3D animated film, to get the feeling, the view.
I already did the research, it’s finished. Years back in time.

I don’t want to hand out the code to “every person interested”, because I actually have some neat secrets.
But to the right person, it’s not a problem.

At the other hand! The members of this forum are almost too skilled for me.
They will say, “you can not do this and that because…” and such conversation, may be true, but does not bring either me or the project in the right direction. Simply! I don’t have the resources to build a data centre, to rent a data centre, to use fast and reliable database such as MS SQL or something from Oracle. I can’t afford using https so I I’ve also solved that.

My strategy is, in this moment, all works because there are no users. When the big crowd arrives, then hopefully there will be also the financial opportunities to change all my weak and slow solutions.

So… In once sense, you could say that I’m building a “roller coaster in demo mode”! :slight_smile:

If you ever visit Sweden, then make sure to visit Göteborg and Liseberg!
This roller coaster feels as if it’s one mile of down hill… part of the track has magnetic … (can’t find that word!) that pushes the cars at an incredible speed…! It’s awesome!

I use to get the most embarrassing errors out. Then a public beta to get the nicer errors.

Sweden is so nice (in summer). I miss going to Trollhttan - always Saab.

Nowadays simulation (beta) works almost flawless.

A working link…
https://www. youtube. com/watch?v=30TRPu7zmQo

Well… I guess I’m left to my own advice, if so!
Not much of help, but I assume, I ask the wrong quesions, simply!

What I’ve done in the past is get a few of the people in my target customer business, ones who might actually be needing the application, and ask them if they would try the application. Be sure to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Make sure they have a specific task or set of tasks they need to accomplish. This way you are making sure the application is actually meeting their (the customer’s) needs. Don’t let them just “play with it”; make sure they are actually using it to focus on specific aspects of the application.

As a reward for cooperating, they might get a “special” licensing arrangement or a discounted price, depending on what seems appropriate. Be sure to establish the criteria and conditions beforehand so they understand what the testing is about. Also, keep the number of participants, either individually or as a group, to between three and five unless the application is large and complex.

Good luck.

Thank you!
That’s a good reply!

However, I had something like that in my mind. Yes.
My software may differ from other software in such sense, it is “copy safe”, so to speak.
There is no license key.
Or, to be more specific, there is a key but it’s at a later state of the use of the software.

It’s not a game, but think of a game. It’s free to play. No limits. But to post your result on the public web, to connect with others, then there is a subscription fee.

I found it REALLY DIFFICULT to find and to ask the target users… Really difficult!! They are out there and there are thousands of them… still, very difficult to find people!

To write in other terms! I actually did go to the on-line forum, similar as this forum, to find names, e-mail addresses and phone number and company and so… But I felt really uncomfortable contacting these people. They all look nice, as in the profile and presentation, but… Brrrr…!!

Maybe it’s me? Maybe I need to get over that step!?
I’m afraid of spam. To be marked as the spamming person…

Maybe i shall just go ahead, to find these ten people, to write the short letter?

Be sure to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement.
I have deliberately tried to develop a software (the idea) that are independent of such agreements. (How would you know!?!?)

I never expected this part to be so much difficult!!
Thank you very much for the input!

Here’s a suggestion…if you know someone in the Human Resources department of a local company, or a headhunter agency, see if they can connect you with a few potential testers. If it’s an agency, you may have to pay a finder’s fee but it may be worth it to have them do the initial screening for you.

Maybe you have done testing in this manner…?
I don’t know your software and I haven’t really been writing about mine…

Maybe Internet and Internet forums are not possible for you to use?
I think it may differ major, from what software and the purpose of the software.
For me, Internet forums and also exhibitions are the best place to be, to promote the software.

Since I started the thread, I may also write:
The purpose of the thread was more to see if you are part of the mentor program where you live?
Do you have a few “beginners” in your life that you “look after”, so to speak!?
I think the majority of all active members of this forum all have some kind of mentor approach to someone IRL…

Jakob, my career comprised major parts of development and Quality Assurance. One thing that I learned early on was that testing by random individuals is generally less than stellar. That’s not to say that they aren’t talented people but effective testing is a different mindset then that of developers, which most of us here are.

Neither developers nor testers should use a shotgun approach. They develop a plan and work to that, which is why marketers demanding late changes drives us crazy. A development plan should include testing to see if the program works. A testing plan should include that plus a plan to see where the program breaks. “Breaks” defines as code crashes as well as ugliness or confusion in workflow. This type of testing is, in my experience, better done by people with insane and warped thought processes - i.e. professional testers. That’s why when I needed excellent testers I looked to HR folks or agencies to see who might be available, since they are the ones with applicants’ resumes.

I got into management because I realized I wasn’t a good enough developer and still wasn’t warped enough to be a great tester. Plus, that way I could take on excellent team members as well as new interns to be guided in their insanity.

As for promoting your software, internet forums, and don’t forget IRC and Usenet channels, are a good approach. Exhibitions and trade shows are also good although a booth might be pricey. Still, if you’re trying to get something great started, it might be worth it.

I usually do all the testing myself.
To a very recent web project, I listen carefully to the users and whatever issues the users ask about I know, these need to be improved.

My Xojo project is the first stand alone project. I have never made any software. I plan to do the same. I do all the testing myself and when the users come, I will implement and change things according to the response.

Maybe it’s a bad strategy, but for me there are no other options possible in this moment. (Time changes! Nothing lasts forever!)

I do an analytic tool. The problem for me is that people around me don’t understand the idea of the tool. In general, I need to educate the people around me. After a year, or so, then there are interesting conversations possible…

However, not for the main target users.
It’s complicated! :slight_smile:

My wife is my #1 tester. She’s great at finding things I never even thought about, especially as she really tries to do thing like a normal user would.

@Jakob: had you seen my mention of It’s very cheap but gives good results. With this I’m usually able to iron out the really embarrassing problems.

Wife is great! I’m getting there…! :slight_smile: Eventually…!

I’ve now taken a closer look at Thank you! My impression is, this page is mainly for “easy” software for the consumer market. Example, “try my Ihone app for the weather forecast”. App for restaurants. Photo app.

My software, at the moment is not for the consumer market. It’s an analytic tool. B2B. Eventually, I also wish to make a consumer software and then, Macdevelopers would be a great source to hand out free subscriptions! In my mind, I’m thinking of 3-5 years of free subscriptions for the testers at Macdevelopers.

I currently develop a quality management system.

When it comes to mentor ship, I actually was hoping to meet with some of you in person in one of the developers meetings and maybe, if there were the interest, to continue from that. There are a few people that I’ve thought of.

However, most active people posting on this forum has a nice, pleasant and good approach! The majority seems more skilled than me! :slight_smile:
We will see. Time will tell!
Thank you for input. Highly valuable!

IMHO macdeveloper can only help to make sure a program does not exhibit flagrant bugs, and complies to HIG. Useful before trying to post to the MAS. Besides, you’re developing for Windows, don’t you ?

If your software is highly specialized, the most appropriate people are your users. Make sure to provide them with a direct access to you for suggestions and bug reports. Then if you cannot solve the technical aspect of implementing or correcting a feature, there are here people who will gladly point you to the solution.

Along the years, I have greatly benefited from customers input for specialized products.

No! :slight_smile:

My set of computers are Windows, yes! But I make sure to develop for Mac and Linux as well. I make sure to find solutions that are not platform dependent.

My main target users, eventually, are advertisement agencies. These use Macs as a majority.
However, I can’t tell what parts will be interesting to what user, meaning, what pars can be solved using the web or stand alone applications.

That’s part of the plan… Yes!