The responsibilities of running “beta” software

“Beta testing” is not a synonym for “early access”. It’s not a badge of honor, like being allowed to cut the line at an exclusive nightclub. Beta testing is a chore. It’s an unpaid job. It’s an actual responsibility.

But being a good beta tester is rewarding if you provide good feedback that results in a better and more stable final product.

If you aren’t going to provide the developer with frequent, detailed feedback and bugreports on beta software, then you really shouldn’t be using it. In fact, most beta-test programs are limited to a finite number of testers, and if you sign up for a beta program but never provide feedback to the developer, then you are depriving someone else who could be providing good feedback to do so.

You shouldn’t be using beta versions in client-supervised situations (e.g Resolve), or when you are in the middle of an important job with a hard deadline, unless you’ve taken enough precautions to be able to quickly revert to the last stable version, or you’ve used the beta extensively in a non-client supervised situation, and it seems stable enough to use on a real job. 

And you DEFINITELY shouldn’t complain that a beta is “buggy” on social media or other public forum. That’s like complaining that you got wet when you went walking in the rain. Of course betas are buggy. That’s the whole point of the beta-test phase. And to be perfectly frank, complaining about beta issues on your Twitter or Facebook feed kind of makes you look like a jerk.

You need to be meticulous and obsessively repetitive about logging your issues. Screengrab the crap out of things. Make screen recordings. Save log files. Be obsessively specific about every little detail about your hardware and software configuration, even if you think it may be irrelevant.

You may not think that the printer driver update you recently installed has anything to do with your Avid crashing, but I can tell you from personal experience that it can. 

  • August 17, 2019