Last week Autodesk hosted some of the Autodesk Expert Elite group members in our sunny San Francisco office. This group of customers are top nominated participants (Expert Elite Nomination Form) in their product assistance to their peers in the Autodesk discussion forums. Scott Sheppard presented to the group on Autodesk Labs and Autodesk Beta and promised to follow up on the topics in blog posts. Scott is posting a blog post on Autodesk Labs (Autodesk Labs versus Beta: Experts Elite Presentation), and I am posting on Autodesk Beta. Beta has long been a passion and responsibility of mine, and is once again a responsibility of mine along with my other Office of the CTO role responsibilities. I was even a Autodesk beta participant for several years as a customer before joining Autodesk.
Autodesk Beta or the Autodesk Feedback Community is pre-release testing community for most every Autodesk product from desktop to mobile and cloud applications. Autodesk Feedback Community is where people can get involved in testing the pre-release products and provide feedback and help us identify the defects before final release. The more people test pre-release betas on different hardware and software configurations as well as test unique workflows to expose issues and feedback, the better the product will be when we ship it.
The Autodesk Feedback Community is also home to some of the future research projects where the product teams can speak confidentially under a non-disclosure with a group of users on possible concepts and ideas to solve user needs and work flows. The members of the community are even used by some teams to recruit for customer visits and in person gunslingers of early versions of software.
Autodesk is rare among large software companies in respect to beta testing engagement and involving it as a vital process across all our products. We could use beta for pre-release marketing activities, but instead we use it to better understand how our products are used, where defects are, and our developers, QA and management personally engage our customers as extended members of our product teams. We want to be as close to the customer as possible to fully understand their needs. After all we are not designing and developing the products for ourselves, but you our customers.
If you want to make a difference in the Autodesk software you use, the Autodesk Feedback Community is the place to be heard & have the potential to affect the software before it is released.