Beta is the fifth User Centred Design (UCD) phase and the third of the delivery phases. It builds the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), as identified in the Alpha phase, ready for public release.
Typically the Beta phase takes 10 weeks.
Why do we need the Beta phase?
To build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), as identified in Alpha, ready for public release.
What happens in Beta?
Beta is the phase where the team:
- builds a fully working product that can be tested with real users
- writes user stories that will be developed as part of the MVP
- resolves outstanding technical or process-related challenges
- resolves outstanding security, legal or privacy-related challenges
- continuously improves on the product until it is ready to go live, replacing or integrating with any existing services
- transitions the way of working (has a greater focus on user stories as tasks and actions)
- tests the system and accessibility
- tests the output of each sprint with real users
- prepares and plans for moving into the final Live phase.
How long does Beta last?
Typically, the Beta phase takes ten weeks.
Starting the Beta phase
Before starting the Beta phase, re-visit the Alpha phase to ensure there is a well-defined MVP.
It is best if the existing team from the Alpha phase continues to work on the Beta phase - keeping the existing empathy, context and momentum within the team. See Building a UCD Team in the UCD Reference Library to obtain the resources required for this phase.
Finishing the Beta phase
- Has the team completed a kick-off?
- Has the team developed user stories and are they visible to the team?
- Has the MVP been developed and iterated with users?
- Has the team self-assessed against the Digital Service Standard?
The next phase is Live.