Introduction 

You might have heard about how Samsung’s one-of-a-kind folding phone got a backlash because of its hinge, which has a space to give dust particles a window to enter the mobile phone. However, in its facility, Samsung had tested the hinge for its durability by placing it on a machine that opens and closes it 10,000 times without stopping for a second to give the phone a rest. The phone got available to the public, and then the primary issue came to light. Had Samsung done the pilot testing of their Galaxy Fold, they would have found the hinge-space issue before the actual launch and fixed it. 

They did make the change in the Galaxy Fold’s second iteration, but the damage to the company’s image had already been done. Thus, no matter how big or small a project is, it needs to go through pilot testing when developing any new tech. Today, we will discuss how pilot testing is performed and understand the importance of pilot study along with pilot test training. 

  1. What is Pilot Testing? And What is a Pilot Study?
  2. What is the Requirement of Conducting Pilot Testing Beforehand?
  3. Objectives of Pilot Study in Research
  4. Methodology
  5. What is a Pilot Survey? And What Are Some Good Practices of Conducting a Pilot Survey?
  6. Examples of Pilot Testing

1) What is Pilot Testing? And What is a Pilot Study?

Pilot testing is a subdomain of software testing in which a group of users come together and use the software before it launches to the mass market. Pilot testing helps identify the issues related to the various components of a system and helps us know how user-friendly the software is and how easy it is for an individual to navigate through its features. Pilot testing’s primary purpose is to evaluate the feasibility, time, cost, and performance of the developed research project in real-time conditions.

Pilot testing is done in between the production and UAT. Several consumers are selected for performing the pilot test on the given project. And based on their usage, these individuals provide a review to the company about how their software works and what needs to be improved in the tested software. One of the main reasons companies go for pilot testing before the initial release of the product is that it helps identify the early errors, which can only be found when an individual is testing it on their own without any restrictions. Unfortunately, conducting pilot testing with users’ help isn’t as easy as it sounds. Throughout the process, a company needs to make minor tweaks to keep the research going and analyzing the results. 

On the other hand, a pilot study is a way to determine if the given testing fields are good enough for collecting the required data or if there are some more additional needs to be made for making testing more efficient. 

2) What is the Requirement of Conducting Pilot Testing Beforehand?

A pilot study and testing do have their benefits, making it easier for a company to conduct product testing more efficiently. Given below, we have pointed out some of the reasons why pilot testing is preferred before software testing. 

  • First, during the testing sessions, the individuals who are hired for the testing purposes cannot understand the proper functioning of the product and cannot make out what they need to do with the product.
  • The conductor’s questions before starting the test could lead to the assumptions of what answer the testers need to give, which leads to biased testing results. Thus, the whole testing will be just a waste of time. 
  • Likewise, each testing process has its time constraint, and all the individuals who are testing the product need to finish the given tasks within that time limit. Often, testers are unable to complete the desired task with the product in a limited period. Thus, testing needs to be done again, or the person needs to be changed. 
  • After the testing is done, the data analysis based on the research design takes more time than actually looking at the results. 

The above are some common hurdles that companies face during the pilot testing sessions. Even the researchers who are in this business for quite some time experience these moments when they find out they have some flaws in their way of conducting research. Pilot testing is the rehearsal of the software testing that companies will run on a much larger scale. It allows individuals to know how efficient their research is. It’s an additional step for many people, but it can make a considerable difference nevertheless. 

3) Objectives of Pilot Study in Research 

We hope that now you know the meaning of a pilot study. Let’s determine the main objectives of conducting pilot testing: 

  • It is used to determine the research’s costing and other attributes, like how many testers need to be there and the feasibility of the research. 
  • In addition to this, it provides vital information about the research, which utilizes time and resources in a better way. 
  • It also helps find out what the end-user will think about the product before it gets launched on a mass scale.
  • Moreover, it can show if the software or the prototype is a successful invention or not. 
  • After the pilot tests are done, the development team’s details allow them to look at things from the user’s perspective, thus providing better information to development to continue their work. 
  • The expert reviews conducted during the development phase can be checked thoroughly by putting the software under pilot testing. 
  • Testers will include their data and use the software in normal circumstances, and if there is some problem with the user’s data handling, the development team can easily figure that out. 
  • On the other hand, pilot testing is done to see if all the main study procedures validate the feasibility of the study that the participants are doing.

4) Methodology

Pilot testing usually depends on how complex the migration project is. There are basically five different phases of completing a pilot testing, and we will be describing each of them for your better understanding.

Phase 1: Defining the project and the research 

Whenever you are working on something, you need to ask yourself what you aim to achieve once the project is finished? This question will be the guiding factor that will assist you in development and won’t let you steer away from your main goal. You need to find out different aspects of the project and how you want to test them. Once you are done finding the areas of concern, you can lay out a plan which will be used in the pilot testing. 

Phase 2: Prepare for the pilot test 

At this stage, you need to provide your participants with all the necessary equipment they need to test the product or the software. This is the phase where you need to mention what you expect from the pilot test and what participants need to do during the testing period. In addition to this, you need to give them an accurate description of the product and your intentions regarding the product. Lastly, a time limit also needs to be presented here to participants for the test. 

Phase 3: Deploy the pilot testing 

All the participants have understood the project’s basic working, and now they get their hands on the product required to be tested. At this phase, the company doesn’t have to do anything. Let the participants do whatever they want with the product and finish the tasks set up by the testing team. During this phase, the participants should not be disturbed, and they need to be left out with the product on their own, so they don’t work in the constraint environment.

Phase 4: Collecting the data and evaluating the pilot test 

The participants are done with their testing. Now, it’s time to take their inputs about what they feel about the project and what changes they want to make to perform better. The company needs to take their individual interviews to find out their review on the product. These interviews need to be as cognitive as possible as the questions one participant asks should not reach the other participants’ ears, as it could lead to sabotage of the pilot testing

Phase 5: Prepare the product 

Now that you have all the necessary information about what individuals think about the product, it’s time to get in touch with the development team and give them insights and all the data you have received from the pilot testing. This will help your development team understand the needs of the people and how the product will work when it actually gets in the hands of real users. 

Once the development team has made the changes, it’s time to do the testing one more time, and if the product reviews are all good and check all the green signals, you are good to launch the product for the mass audience. 

5) What is a Pilot Survey? And What Are Some Good Practices of Conducting a Pilot Survey?

A pilot survey is the same as pilot testing. It’s just that some companies like to call it a “survey” while some stick with “testing.” Let’s see the good practices you need to keep in mind about conducting a pilot survey.

First, when thinking about conducting a pilot test, a company needs to schedule it two days before the useability test as it can help find the issues that could stop the usability test in the middle—saving a lot of time, money, and other resources for the company. 

Second, do not start the pilot testing procedure before all the different development teams are ready for it. Give time to each development team to test their code and their part of the project. Once all of them are done with their testing, only then proceed to conduct pilot testing. 

Give explicit instructions to participants attending the pilot testing to note down all the issues they face during the product’s testing. Even the slightest problem needs to be exposed during the pilot testing program. 

Take the pilot testing data very seriously and work with the development team to eradicate the issues found in pilot testing. 

6) Examples of Pilot Testing

Various companies and research institutes carry out pilot testing instead of taking a large sample, which is time-consuming and costly too. There are several techniques that one can follow, irrespective of whether they are scientific or not. A pilot survey or pilot testing is the methodology that is conducted before the real testing to determine the feasibility and the validity of the research methods. Some examples of live pilot testing done by tech companies in previous years have been given below: 

  • Windows Insider Program

Whenever Microsoft brings in a new operating system, they don’t launch it right away in the mainstream market. First, it is given to some individuals to test it out and see if Windows is performing up to the mark and helps users accomplish all the required tasks. On the other hand, during the testing stage, Microsoft also stays in touch with the pilot testing participant to see if the user experience is good and if it requires any changes. 

  • Google Android Beta Program 

Just like Microsoft, Google also tests its Android operating system before making it an official launch. You might have seen that a lot of tech YouTubers were given a chance to use the latest update of the Android and tell what they think about it both to the audience and to Google.  

Conclusion 

Now, you know what a pilot survey is and why it is one of the essential verifying components of the testing system. Whenever someone is thinking about conducting pilot testing, they need to do it between UAT and production to determine their flaws. Lastly, pilot testing will help determine whether the product is ready to be launched at a full scale or it requires some more iterations before the product is wholly developed. There are many courses available online that can help you practice pilot testing of software to give you hands-on experience on how to test a product under the pilot testing scenarios.

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