How do you know when a beta is ready to launch?

I’m PM on a small product team at an early stage startup and we are bug bashing our way furiously to launch a beta (true gen 1 of our product).

With our team is spending most of our time discussing, prioritizing issues or in UAT with app in hand, it’s chaos right now.

I am trying to zoom out and see if this product will be valuable to put in the hands of consumers for feedback.

How do you know when you’re ready to launch and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a beta?

*Note - it is a niche/sensitive market so a beta will cost $ to get into those users’ hands.

Is it a gut feeling that the app is “useful”?

Or are there benchmarks or data you go by to add some order to the chaos?

I’m worried that this thing we built is a piece of crap. But I don’t know if we have time to fix it. Please any thoughts would help!


Firstly, don’t worry about your product being a piece of crap. Rather you should worry if it is too perfect, because then you are late to the market.

Next, for your targeted user persona, see what’s the bare minimum goal they want to achieve for the problem you are solving for them.

Layout that journey and see if they can achieve that through your solution or not. Since it’s a beta release, it is bound to break.

Don’t spend time and efforts perfecting it. Put it out there and get the early feedback to improve upon.

All the best OP for your first launch, may the force be with you.


Thank you @Naomi. Much appreciated.

I do not believe we are achieving the bare minimum goal at this point. I do not want to go into specifics on the internet, but we are using new, unproven tech concepts with novel applications. I think we swung and missed.

Since we are a niche/sensitive market, we need to pay $ to get into actual users’ hands for beta so there is risk there. But a lot of risk by not moving forward early 2022 since other top competitors are staking their claim in this space already.


You’re welcome and thank you for appreciation.

With respect to your second paragraph, when you don’t have data to make informed decisions, go out and get data. Best way to do is launch.

Now coming to the part of paying users to adopt Beta version, definitely the straightforward launch would not make sense.

But at the same time, you are facing competition and losing out potential market.

So the best approach, you as a PM have to follow is, evaluate the trade offs between launching and holding your horses. Find the common currency between both the situation and see which one will impact that currency and how to move the needle.

This approach will help you get a realistic estimate and make the decision.

Sooner or later, you’ll have to launch.


The feeling of what we built is a piece of crap is common before launch. Let me outside world decide it. Assuming your app right now has the feature set built-in which you have set out to built beta launch, you need to ask yourselves

  • Is my App stable and will not crash

  • Will users be able to complete their flows

  • UX is at least average

  • Has anything changed since the feature set that was decided in the outside world that will affect your product. Unless the change requires re-think of product strategy or affects product-market fit significantly you leave to 2.0

Best of luck.


@Rohit Thank you for your response! I am quite worried about your second point, “Will users be able to complete their flows.” I think the answer is no.

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In the absence of clear knowledge, you experiment. You have a hypothesis that the current state of the product won’t do useful work for users. How will you test this hypothesis?

I get that in the hardware space there are cost hurdles that make experimentation tough. So the experiment needs to deliver value (in the form of business knowledge or clarity) commensurate with the cost of running it.

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Knowing now that you have a hardware product, the best you could do is do a mini-trial and do a beta launch in a few phases each time targeting specific customers. Keep the feedback coming, keep fixing issues and integrating customer feedback into features and move on ahead.

Make sure there’s at least one single functionality that works and then hand select a group of users/clients to run a pilot program even before you launch a beta. You don’t need to start with an expensive beta. You can pilot → alpha → then beta and by that time you’ll asses the appetite for your solution better and see if you’re actually solving anyone’s problem. It sounds like you definitely shouldn’t start with an open beta but with a very small/controlled test group.