No, this is not a requirement for pilot testing even if it is a project that is about to be released. Pilot programs for CRM Online customers typically involve upgrading their existing version so that they can test the new features directly.
Other customers will run a test version with their data, while their existing version is still intact. This is recommended if your company has many integrations between SuperOffice and other business systems.
Both ways are great for pilot testing. The main thing is to place our products in different settings and have real end-users try it out the way they would use it.