What is Pilot Testing? Definition, Meaning, Examples

Pilot testing is a sort of software testing that is carried out by a group of end-users prior to the software's production deployment.

In this testing method, a component of the system or the entire system is tested in a real-time situation. To undertake this sort of testing, the system is installed at the customer's end. To discover bugs, the client conducts continuous and frequent testing. In a real-time scenario, a component of the system or the entire system is tested and verified.

The ideal practice is to test the component on a regular basis so that regions prone to defects may be found and reported to developers so that they can be fixed in the next version. A group of end-users who test the system and report any bugs to the developers so that they may be resolved in the next version. It allows users to find bugs before they are released into the wild. This sort of testing is a simulation of a real-world environment or verification before the system goes live.

What Exactly is Pilot Testing?

Pilot testing occurs between User Acceptance testing and Production deployment. The goal of this testing is to determine the cost, hazards, feasibility, time, and efficiency of the project.

The Importance of Pilot Testing

Pilot testing is important because it aids in a variety of ways, including debugging software and procedures used for testing, ensuring product readiness for full-scale implementation, making better time and resource allocation decisions, gauging the reaction of your target population to the program, measuring program success, and allowing the team to practice activities they will use for usability.

Microsoft, Google, and HP are just a few names that come to mind as instances of this type of testing.

  • Microsoft − Microsoft manages the Windows Insider program for Windows 10 Pilot testing.

  • HP − HP is conducting online pilot tests of its goods and services. This will give you an idea of how the Pilot test fits within the process.

  • Google − Google operates the Android Beta Program to test the Android Operating System for Nexus users.

Another example of how Pilot Testing may be used to understand

Consider a company with many departments, each of which uses the same program. The new application to be released is initially deployed in one of the departments, and after being assessed, the following stage is performed, i.e. if it is successful, it may be distributed to other departments as well, or it will be rolled back.

The following are some of the objectives of pilot testing

  • To determine the project's cost, viability, hazards, and timeliness, among other things.

  • To come to a conclusion on the software's success or failure.

  • To locate the end-users inputs.

  • To give developers an opportunity to remedy the issues.

Pilot Testing − A Step-by-Step Guide

To do testing, software development organizations use the method of hosting site files on live servers or directories on the Internet.

There are five steps in the Pilot Test process −

  • Planning for Pilot test processes

  • Preparation for the pilot test

  • Deployment and Testing

  • Evaluation

  • Production Deployment

Let's go over the stages stated above −

  • Planning − The first stage in this type of testing is to lay out the methods that will be used. The plan has been prepared and authorized for the same, as the plan will be followed in the future and all actions will be drawn only from it.

  • Preparation − Once the strategy is established, the next step is to prepare for this sort of testing, which includes installing software in the client region, selecting a team to execute the tests, and compiling the data needed for testing. Before testing can begin, the entire testing environment must be in place.

  • Deployment − Once the preparation is complete, the program is deployed to the customer's location. Testing is carried out by a limited group of end-users who participate in the role of the product's intended audience.

  • Evaluation − Once the deployment is complete, testing and evaluation are carried out by a group of end-users who determine the software's state. They generate a report and distribute the problems to be corrected to the developers for inclusion in the next release. It is being determined whether or not to proceed with the deployment in production based on their review.

  • Production Deployment − Production deployment is only performed if the end-user assessment findings show that the produced software is identical to what was expected, i.e., it satisfies the customer's need.

Points to Keep in Mind During Pilot Testing −

A few considerations and considerations must be made and taken into account when conducting this exam. The following are some of them −

  • Testing Environment − Setting up a suitable testing environment is critical since testing cannot be conducted without it. This testing necessitates a real-time environment similar to that which the end-user will encounter. Everything, including the gear and software to be utilized and installed, must be taken care of.

  • Tester group − Choosing a group of testers as a targeted audience is critical for this sort of testing since testers must reflect the intended users, and wrong selection might lead to erroneous results. To get productive outcomes, testers should receive proper training.

  • Proper Planning − From the start of every successful endeavor, proper planning is essential. Resources, timeframes, hardware and software requirements, test scenarios, budget, and server deployment must all be carefully planned. The number of users who participated in the pilot test, the number of satisfied/dissatisfied users, support requests and calls, and so on should be prepared as evaluation criteria for the pilot test.

  • Documentation − All needed documentation should be created and distributed to all teams. Before testing can begin, the installation procedure should be thoroughly documented. Test scripts, as well as a list of functions to be run, should be supplied for the software to be tested. On a regular basis, a list of issues/bugs should be provided to the developer/designers.

Steps Following Pilot Testing Evaluation

Once the pilot test is finished, the next stage is to decide the project's next plan. The test outputs/results are examined, and the next plan is determined based on that

  • Stagger Future − A fresh release resource is distributed to the pilot group in this method.

  • Rollback − In this technique, the rollback plan is carried out, which means that the pilot group is returned to its former configurations.

  • Suspension − As the name implies, this technique suspends testing.

  • Patch and continue − In this method, fixes are issued to solve existing problems while testing continues.

  • Deployment − This technique is used when the test results are as predicted and the software or component evaluated is ready to be used in a production environment.


It has a number of advantages, which are stated below −

  • Because this testing is done from the perspective of the consumer, it aids in determining the true demand for the product.

  • It aids in the detection of mistakes/bugs before manufacturing, resulting in a high-quality product with fewer costly errors.

  • It assists in making the product/software more appealing to end users.

  • It makes the software rollout go more smoothly and quickly.

  • It aids in predicting the product's success rate.

  • It aids in the creation of the finest possible product.

Pilot Testing Best Practices

  • The pilot test should be scheduled two days before the usability test.

  • Do not start the pilot test until all users, customers, and the project team has agreed on the success criteria.

  • Request that users note any flaws on their copies of documents, express their concerns, and give recommendations for improvement (if they have any).

  • Inform users about the pilot's goal, duration, and progress.

Pilot Testing Example

The following are some frequent Pilot Testing examples −

  • Microsoft manages the Windows Insider Programs for Windows 10 Pilot Testing.

  • Google offers the Android Beta Program to Nexus users in order for them to test the Android operating system.

  • HP conducts online pilot testing of its products and services.


Pilot testing is an important sort of testing since it is done in the real world by end-users who provide vital input to help improve the product. Testing in a real-world setting provides insight into the product's quality, as well as the opportunity to find and solve issues before the system goes live.

There are a few things to take care of before commencing the pilot test, such as documentation, selecting a group of users, planning, and selecting a suitable test environment. Depending on the outcomes of the testing, the product's next strategy may be determined, such as continuing with repairs, suspending testing, rolling back to the prior configuration, or deploying the system in the production environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is the objective of Pilot Testing?

Answer − The goal of this test is to determine the cost, hazards, feasibility, time, and efficiency of the research project.

2) Is Pilot Testing Required?

Answer − Pilot testing is a crucial phase that is required since it is used in various areas such as debugging applications, testing procedures, and product preparation for distribution. It saves money on pricey bugs because they are discovered during the testing process.

Updated on: 24-Sep-2021

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