Product Test Phase
Pre-Alpha is the test period during which QA, Information Development and other internal users make the product available for internal testing.
Alpha is the test period during which the product is complete and usable in a test environment but not necessarily bug-free. It is the final chance to get verification from customers that the tradeoffs made in the final development stage are coherent.
Entry to Alpha
* All features complete/testable (no urgent bugs or QA blockers)
* High bugs on primary platforms fixed/verified
* 50% of medium bugs on primary platforms fixed/verified
* All features tested on primary platforms
* Alpha sites ready for install
* Final product feature set Determined
Beta is the test period during which the product should be of "FCS quality" (it is complete and usable in a production environment). The purpose of the Beta ship and test period is to test the company's ability to deliver and support the product (and not to test the product itself). Beta also serves as a chance to get a final "vote of confidence" from a few customers to help validate our own belief that the product is now ready for volume shipment to all customers.
Entry to Beta
* At least 50% positive response from Alpha sites
* All customer bugs addressed via patches/drops in Alpha
* All bugs fixed/verified
* Bug fixes regression tested
* Bug fix rate exceeds find rate consistently for two weeks
* Beta sites ready for install
GM (Golden Master)
GM is the test period during which the product should require minimal work, since everything was done prior to Beta. The only planned work should be to revise part numbers and version numbers, prepare documentation for final printing, and sanity testing of the final bits.
Entry to Golden Master
* Beta sites declare the product is ready to ship
* All customer bugs addressed via patches/drops in Beta
* All negative responses from sites tracked and evaluated
* Support declares the product is supportable/ready to ship
* Bug find rate is lower than fix rate and steadily decreasing
FCS (First Customer Ship)
FCS is the period which signifies entry into the final phase of a project. At this point, the product is considered wholly complete and ready for purchase and usage by the customers.
Entry to FCS
* Product tested for two weeks with no new urgent bugs
* Product team declares the product is ready to ship