A product manager usually performs an alpha test at the stage where production is near completion. It normally happens but has a similar function before any beta testing. In the software industry, such tests are most frequently run.

Alpha testing is a product’s first end-to-end testing to ensure that it correctly meets the market criteria and works. It is normally carried out by internal personnel and performed in a laboratory/stage environment. An alpha test guarantees that the product actually works and does what it should do. While during the production process, “unit testing” and “smoke testing of different individual components and features may have been carried out an alpha test is an initial opportunity to assess the performance and thorough functionality of a product release.

The primary difference between an alpha test and a beta test is who conducts the test. In a laboratory or stage setting, alpha tests are normally conducted by internal personnel, while beta tests are performed in a production setting by real users. The aim of the alpha test is to identify as many problems as possible before any public exposure or use of the product.