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After completion of the initial testing stage, when the checks were executed directly by QA specialists (but not only by developers), the product proceeds with the next stages.

There’s a new stage of development and testing when all the initial tests have already been performed, perhaps a new functionality has been added and the entire project team already knows the future capabilities of the product. But, there are certain actions that need to be done after alpha testing is completed and before this new stage begins.

  • Archive all non-trivial data files. Do not forget to prepare short notes about contents and purpose of these files. Do not force yourself or your employees each time to remember what exactly this file contains and what it is for. With such an abundance of information, similar versions of the same data, similar tests, you should not rely on your memory. Otherwise, you will have to develop some tests again. If comments are included directly in the files, prepare another document with a list of all available files and a brief description of their purpose so that all the materials needed for each test can be quickly found.
  • Archive all reusable batch files, data files, and saved keystrokes. Divide them into two groups. The most important of them and those which will be used by other employees from now forward are accompanied by detailed comments, the rest – by more concise ones.
  • Prepare data files for printer testing. Start with standard files that are suitable to test all types of printing devices.
  • Test the program using them, printing information on both the device and the disk. Prepare batch files so that the next time all these tests can be performed automatically, and compare the output files of different versions of the program or different device drivers. If you still do not know about independent testing services it is time to report to them in order to benefit your project and cut costs for its development.
  • Prepare configuration tests. Make a complete list of possible components of the operating environment in which the program will be run. In particular, it will include versions of operating systems and additional system software. It is likely that there will be a plurality of possible configurations, so you’ll have to think about developing several comprehensive tests that are most likely to identify the problems. Acquire the necessary external devices (modems, mice, video cards, etc.) and start preparing the corresponding test files.
  • Automate acceptance tests. If each time when the next version of the program is ready, it is planned to perform a standard series of short tests, they should be necessarily automated. After all, these tests will be performed many times, not only by testers, but also by other employees, in particular, programmers. To automate these tests, you may need software designed to intercept and reproduce keyboard and other input, intercept output information (in particular, images on the screen) and extract important fragments from it.

Following certain rules and proven practices, you can make the process of product developing and testing as productive and successful as possible.

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