Monday, September 26, 2011

Should you Eat your Own Dog Food?

imageI think the answer is YES. If you are not willing to eat your own dog food you should probably fire yourself.

A more harsh assessment from someone I respect is - If you are not willing to eat your own dogfood … your company should fire you.

What is Dog Fooding?

Eating your own Dogfood” is a phrase used at Microsoft and a lot of other tech companies. I use it all the time to describe what my company should be doing with regard to new products and services we are offering.

Why should ANYONE Eat their Own Dogfood?

Simple. Because it’s good for your business.

  • Maybe your team will NOT be the most productive.
  • Maybe people will curse the day they had to do it
  • Maybe your team will dread the next release

But in the end … The customer should end up with a better product. Employees will also have a better feel for what the customer and partner goes through when they install, test and use their products.

The Ultimate Penalty

I was talking with someone I trust and respect recently about Microsoft people using iPhones, iPads, Android and other non-Microsoft based devices and software. His assessment was simple. They should be FIRED! 

His logic was simple. Whether or not the Microsoft based solutions were the best or not … they could only get better with use and feedback from the employees. At last count that was 90,000+ Microsoft employees. That’s a LOT of feedback.

Caveat: The only exception is … if employees are testing for compatibility or otherwise researching the products from a comparison and go to market basis.

What do you think?

  • Should companies dog food their own products?
  • Should people that use non-company products be fired?
  • Should partners be “encouraged” to dogfood products?

imageIf not dog fooding …
What alternatives do you recommend?

Drop me a line in the comments here or ping me at my other contact points below. I do want to know if I’m barking up the right tree here.

imageAbout The Author:
I have spent the last 20 years working in various aspects of the ECM industry. I am currently with
Kodak as a Director of Business Development. In my past I have spent time at Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and at Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

4 comments:

El Jefe said...

Only if Mother Microsoft would provide free of charge dogfood (phones & tablets) to all employees, then yet. Ford makes Chevy drivers park a little further away, but doesn't fire them for driving one. (Toyota drivers park furthest away).

Despite what they might think, they are not all-powerful, they are not the military, and they most definitely are not a dictator.

Shadrach White said...

The answer is 'Yes'.

I would be surprised if less than 90%+ of Microsoft employees use the companies products. I guess the question is should they be required to use them exclusively(?). There is another concept that should be balanced with this kibble eating and that is thinking or learning outside the box.

Hiring competitors brightest, copy-catting technology, pushing the boundary and then driving innovation and usability has been done by every company in order to create new product offerings, erode market share and in some cases leap-frog brilliantly and substantially.

I like the post, made me stop what I was doing to sit down and respond. Thanks Jeff.

VN Software said...

How many Microsoft employee actually use Microsoft Internet Explorer all the time on daily basic or just use them only to demo to other ?

Mike said...

The only major problem that I recalled was that Microsoft was reluctant to do this in offices outside the USA, meaning that many major bugs that surfaced in non-US locales, timezones etc were never caught in time.

I see most west-coast software companies still fall into the same trap and the same costly bugs repeat again and again throughout Asia, Europe and Australasia.