In the software release life cycle, there is a certain progression of product development that you may have heard of.
It starts with Pre-Alpha Testing, where the product requirement are defined, basic features are considered, and preliminary testing is performed. If this phase is found to be promising, the Alpha Testing begins with other teams performing a wider range of tests to validate Pre-Alpha Test results. If the Alpha Test is successful, a limited public Beta Test is performed to provide extensive usability testing and collaborate with testers as they report their feedback.
The final phase the software release cycle is to release or Launch the final product to the public, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. No one’s launching a new product yet, we have some testing to do.
Joey and I only had a few filters made of a totally new and unproven material. We had to decide what to do next. We decided to use this technology-based methodology moving forward.
The key benefit of using this process is that the Launch of a new product is not one big hail mary, all-or-nothing gamble. It breaks down the process into several smaller, manageable stages where careful consideration is made to determine whether or not further steps should be taken.
Our paper filters failed in this Pre-Alpha stage. Our testing showed that we were able to create paper filters that were a bit better than what we had been working with, but not significantly so. Early test results did not justify further development of the paper filters.
Even though the paper filters were done, Joey and I realized that we were already halfway through a new Pre-Alpha Testing phase. We had completed the initial design and identified the basic features of these new filters. Why not run our new filters through those same preliminary tests and see how they do?
The preliminary tests went well, surprisingly well. Based on our mediocre results from the paper filters, we did not have very high hopes for this new material. It is much stronger than paper, that's obvious. The real issues would be: how well it held up in water, responded to stirring, and filtered coffee? Ultimately, the test would be how well it fared in blind taste tests against the industry standard products? Answer: amazing!
The new material stood up to every test we threw at it. We found it to be stronger than the mesh bags that we were using and filtered as well as the paper filters. Possibly the best feature is one that solves a problem that we hadn’t really considered: no more washing and drying our mesh bags!
How many times have you stood over a sink washing, rinsing and sanitizing a reusable filter only to have to set it out to dry and put it away later for reuse? This new material is biodegradable so we realized that our days of dishes and laundry were over.
This was enough validation to advance this product to the Alpha Testing phase.