Alpha Testing, One Week Later

The first Alpha release of was launched one week ago today.

It’s not a huge surprise that out of all the people who said they would help test the site, only three actually logged in to the site. One person spent a good amount of time and sent us back some great results. The other two spent a minimal amount of time and sent us no feedback at all.

Disappointing yes, surprising no.

It’s early and there’s not a lot to see right now, so I’m not discouraged. We are doing our own internal testing and the developers are working hard to address the issues we bring up. We ultimately decided to rewrite the entire messaging module because the Drupal module had a queer, confusing interface and did not do everything we wanted it to do. So was modified to the point where it is no longer part of the core framework. Oh well.

My most important Aha moment this week for me was this: the decision to come out with a “pre-alpha” release was both a great idea and a terrible idea.

It was a great idea because it forced us to deal with some very difficult development issues early on instead of waiting until 3/4ths of the code was done. We learned from our mistakes, adjusted some things, and now we go forward with new understanding and purpose.

It was a terrible idea from a publicity perspective because we spent a lot of time and effort pushing for signups, crafting and sending announcements, coming up with test scripts, and biting our nail on edge about what people would think. It was like throwing a party and having only two people show up. I’m not sure what I learned from this exercise… maybe a slightly better understanding of human nature and perhaps also a more realistic set of expectations. Every disappointment should be a lesson.

At any rate, at this point I think we have identified all of the issues that we’re going to and we need to move on to the next phase. It was a tough week with a lot of back and forth with the development team, and I’m ready to move on. Alpha 2 is scheduled for a 10/23 release and that will have all the group features. This is exciting because it means we can start forming real groups and having real members. It will be a giant leap forward.

Next week I’ll tell you about my new Filipino VAs.

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