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The 24 Stages of Software Testing

Perhaps you’ve heard about software being in the alpha-test and beta-test stages of development and have wondered exactly what that meant. It turns out that there are twenty four stages of software testing, one for each letter of the Greek alphabet. Here is your unofficial guide to the 24-stage software development testing cycle.

alpha It compiles!
beta It runs on Joe’s machine.
gamma It runs on Kate’s machine too.
delta It runs on the network.
epsilon It’s stopped running on Kate’s machine.
zeta It runs on all machines, but report crashes.
eta It crashes with HIMEM.SYS.
theta It crashes without HIMEM.SYS.
iota It crashes with a serial printer.
kappa It works! But the spec has changed.
lambda It runs, but mysteriously at half the speed of before.
mu It crashes the network.
nu It crashes Kate’s machine with HIMEM.SYS, Joe’s without.
xi It runs, but the printout is garbage.
omicron As above, but crashes after printout sometimes.
pi It sometimes crashes.
rho Kate thinks it works, but it turns out she’s running lambda.
sigma No luck yet.
tau Aha, sorted out the printout.
upsilon Nearly there — just need to tidy up the help text.
phi It won’t run at all on anything.
chi Yipee! It runs perfectly on all the machines in the world.
psi It runs on all the machines in the world except that idiot’s from Basingstoke with the customised Amstrad and DOS 4.01.
omega It won’t compile.

This page was last updated January 22, 1998.