Product refinement

Alpha prototype refinement

Alpha prototype refinement is a type of acceptance testing usually carried out at a late stage of product development and involves simulating actual use of the product by in-house developers or a team of QA (Quality Analysis) and QC (Quality Control) specialists. Typically, alpha prototype refinement consists of systematic verification of all functions of a future product using white box and black box testing techniques.

The most time-consuming part of creating a new product is not creating a prototype, the MPV, but the process of debugging it and correcting mistakes made during the design and creation of the incremental product.

Initial testing of the product goes hand-in-hand with product development and is done by the members of the product team, who check against the engineering rules and requirements of the terms of reference.

When the new product is ready, it reaches the Technical Analysis and Testing Department, where experts in QA (Quality Analysis) and QC (Quality Control) begin in-depth comprehensive verification of the MPV with special equipment and testing systems. As a rule, before testing, we specify a certain set of parameters, and we know what the output should be for the proper functioning of the product. If the output is different, the QA specialist starts searching for errors with the help of a debugging engineer or with the help of a cordon, which helps to quickly locate the found errors.

Once the individual functional units of the product have been tested, they are combined into a coherent whole. This is not yet a fully functional product that is ready for release, but it is already able to work and perform at least partially its main tasks. This version of the product is called an alpha version.

Beta prototype refinement

Beta prototype refinement is the intensive use of an almost finished version of a product in order to identify the maximum number of bugs in its operation for their further elimination before the final release of the product to the market to the mass consumer.

A beta prototype is a real working version of a new product with full functionality (full product prototype), therefore the key task of beta-tests is to evaluate the capabilities and stability of the hardware from the perspective of future users.

Unlike alpha prototype refinement, conducted by in-house QA/QC professionals, beta prototype refinement involves volunteers from among the general future users of the product, who have access to the previous version of the product.

These volunteers (beta testers) are given the right to use the new product first and influence the development process to increase their satisfaction from using the product. Beta testers are usually people who have worked with this type of product and are familiar with the beta testing methodology.

Mass market product refinement

The launch of a new product into a series (mass production) is the final stage of the new product development strategy, on the quality of organization and management, of which the commercial success of the product in the market depends.

Owners of a new product at the final stage are faced with many problems of efficient organization of production, which can be expressed in the following aspects:

1. Incorrect technical specifications – specification mismatch is one of the most common difficulties of any product manager and manufacturer. Therefore, it is important to understand that the more detailed the specification is, the better the result will be, and less time will be spent on revision or deficiencies elimination. The best option is to involve an experienced specialist to create the requirements’ specification, who has experience in working with manufacturers and understands the subject.

2. Insufficiently thorough check of the potential manufacturer’s business reputation – at the stage of launching a new product, owners tend to move quickly to mass production, and simplify the process of checking the reliability and competence of the potential manufacturer.  This subsequently leads to missed production deadlines, financial losses, and a return to a new round of looking for the right manufacturer.

3. Mistakes and gaps in the analysis of compliance of declared technical specifications of production facilities with technical specifications of a new product – verification of compliance of actual characteristics of production equipment with technical documentation, and product specifications is not only time-consuming (especially if the manufacturer is located in another country), but also requires highly skilled professionals in the field of QA.

4. Difficulty in sourcing and selecting raw material suppliers – the launch of a new product in mass production is usually organized as part of a strategy to minimize production costs in order to attract new customers at a lower price. This, in turn, motivates product owners to look for suppliers in China, which involves both the unscrupulousness of the suppliers themselves and the difficulty of organizing and negotiating with them due to language and cultural barriers.

We are to help with such issues to assure the quality of your mass production device.

Case study

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