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Soft Launch in Software Development - How is it Different from Hard Launch & Beta Testing?

Soft Launch in Software Development – How is it Different from Hard Launch & Beta Testing?

  • Post published:September 23, 2022

In software development when launching a software product there are a lot of factors to consider. Do you have enough staff for the launch? Can you give support after launch if something comes up? What is the contingency plan? What type of launch to do? When is the best time to launch? Answer these questions and you will end up on the best time and scenario.

Selection between the type of launch depends on your resources and product. This article will explain the difference between soft launch, hard launch, and beta testing.

Soft Launch in Software Development - How is it Different from Hard Launch & Beta Testing? 1

The soft launch means releasing or launching the software in stages or gradually. Complete products or services may not be released or may be released to a smaller audience. The initial release is less robust with only the must-have features.

With a soft launch, you can determine customer feedback and user acceptance. According to the analysis the required changes are made in the upcoming versions. This gives users a sense of attachment to your software and allows you to improve the software.

This is where custom software development comes in! Tweak your software according to the requirements and user feedback. 

In software development when doing a soft launch, beta testing is done first. The software development life cycle is completed from development to testing, beta test version is launched first then a soft launch.

Advantages of Soft LaunchDisadvantages of Soft Launch
Release to highly relevant users and get feedback to improve.Customer expectations are low as they know it is the initial launch.
Analyze user behavior and interest in your product.A soft launch is almost as expensive as a Hard launch.
Optimize your product according to data analytics.Product ideas can be copied by competitors.

What Is A Hard Launch?

The official and formal launch of a complete product that has passed all the software development processes. The product should not have bugs because if it does user expectations will not be met and it can give a bad impression about the product. User engagement and response will get impacted. A hard launch is great if you want to attract more users and kick off marketing.

Advantages of Hard LaunchDisadvantages of Hard Launch
Attracts more user base. Able to create product buzz.A hard launch is more expensive than a Soft launch.
Get revenue gains on the product faster.Hard to tweak the product after launch.
You can prevent the idea from being copied by competitors.You have less error margin because user expectations are high.

What Is Beta Testing?

In software development, life cycle beta testing is the second phase of the software testing cycle. In beta testing selected beta users to try the product or service for some time. Feedback from users is analyzed to improve the product before commercial release for everyone.

Alpha testing is the first phase of testing in the software development process. In alpha testing, functionality and usability are tested within the organization. In beta testing functionality, security, and reliability of the product are tested by real but limited users. 

Beta testing is also called UAT, user acceptance testing.

Difference Between Soft Launch & Hard Launch

The state of software readiness is the primary difference between a soft launch and a hard launch. Soft launch focuses more on improving the product as requirements arise. The hard launch is more focused on launching a complete product and marketing it heavily. 

The soft launch takes time for you to notice the impact on sales, user engagement and retention, and awareness. But with a hard launch impact is reflected fast.

Check out the major differences between soft launch and hard launch.

Soft LaunchHard Launch
Implies your product is not ready or completeImplies everything is ready and tested.
Changes can be made before the final and mass release.Making changes is difficult. Bugs can turn customers away.
Targeted users are fully catered to with the final release.Changing the product for targeted users is hard.
Not reasonably cheaper than a hard launch.Expensive because of heavy marketing.

Soft Launch VS Beta Testing. What Is The Difference?

A soft launch is a release or launch of software to a limited audience with all features or limited features. Beta testing is a type of soft launch where you release a feature to a selected audience. A common example of this is WhatsApp where beta users are offered new features earlier to test them.

When Should You Go For Which Technique?

There are many instances where it is better to go for a soft launch instead of a hard launch.

Soft Launch in Software Development - How is it Different from Hard Launch & Beta Testing? 2

When To Consider A Soft Launch?

  • You want to test your services and the software first.
  • The final product is not ready yet.
  • You aim to improve services over time.
  • If you are not confident or worked out all the kinks of your product or service.

When To Choose A Hard Launch?

  • Your product is thoroughly tested and completed.
  • You are confident about the success of the product or software.
  • You want to release a big update or service and not a new product.
  • You have an outstanding marketing strategy and hefty resources.
  • The software or product is well known.

Hope this article has helped you distinguish between launching strategies and select the right launch strategy by presenting you with the facts. You can select the type of launch as your software development life cycle step depending on what you want to achieve and what are your goals.

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