What Is Iterative Testing?
Iterative testing refers to making small, gradual changes or updates to a product based on insights (e.g., test results and user feedback) from previous changes and testing them against predefined baseline metrics. It is commonly practiced in a UI/UX context but can be used in the context of product management.
Why Do Product Managers Need to Conduct Iterative Testing?
Here are a few of the benefits of iterative testing for product managers:
1. Manage and Test Easily
Iterative testing enables product teams to make incremental, evidence-based changes to a feature or product. It allows them to roll changes out quickly, and then gather user feedback to shape product decisions. Because the changes aren’t sweeping ones, they are easier to manage and test.
2. Identify Issues Early
Gradual tweaks made to the product help product teams identify and eliminate bugs or usability issues and correct them early on. Getting ahead enables an organization to deliver a better product to users.
3. Get Better Insight
Iterative testing gives product managers actionable insights via test results and user feedback, which they can use to improve the product.
4. Deliver a Better Product
Product managers want to achieve product excellence by developing a significant or impactful product or feature and getting it to market quickly. Iterative testing helps product managers get to the heart of how users will engage with a product. It gives insight into whether or not the product hits the desired mark.
In the Adobe XD Ideas blog, Justin Morales writes:
“Testing your product gradually in iterative steps allows you to identify the usability strengths and weaknesses early on and adjust accordingly—potentially saving you resources in the long run. It helps pave the way for a streamlined, efficient experience, which makes for a successful product.”
5. Maintain Flexibility
Making small, gradual changes to a product helps product managers adapt to users’ changing needs. They can keep close tabs on how users react to and feel about those changes. These valuable insights, in turn, help guide future product decisions.
6. Get Stakeholder Buy-In
Because iterative testing is evidence-based (i.e., real data and user feedback), product decisions are more comfortable to justify. This ultimately helps product managers make their cases with stakeholders.
Best Practices for Iterative Testing
Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you conduct iterative testing:
- Outline objectives and define the criteria for each testing phase.
- Test as early as possible
- Track all usability issues
- Don’t lose sight of your product vision and product strategy
- Keep changes small and manageable (i.e., don’t try to solve everything at once)
- Engage the entire team to help build customer empathy
- Document all iterations and the reasons behind each change