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Dog Food


Dog Food

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Dog Food

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Jim Lang ECCA
Jim Lang ECCA
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Funny you should mention it. My boss and I are discussing roll-outs and the best way to get it done.



We don't eat our own dog food. We develop software for insurance companies, and wind up having our users test the software for us. The trick is to be sure that the critical parts (the money) is right, which eats a lot of testing time. The balance (usability) is what we hear about most.



Usability is a tenuous thing. What makes perfect sense to one is "junk" to another.



You're doing a good job. It works.
dbDiva
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Steve,



I have mixed views on the subject. In one sense, I think a company is almost obligated to use its own software if it makes sense for the company. For example, if PeopleSoft is going to market PeopleSoft Financials, it should also be using it. Otherwise, why would an external customer be interested? If PeopleSoft wasn't using its own product, it could indicate that its product is lacking.



On the other hand, the requirements that go into the software being developed by a company are not always the requirements that actual users of the system would submit. Just because a company is developing an application, doesn't mean it will meet the needs of all communities. Perhaps the application being built is great for one type of organization but not for another. In this instance, I would say that it would be a poor business decision to try to fit the process into the tool. I believe the tool should always support the process, not the other way around.



~Cathy
Michelle Ufford-459603
Michelle Ufford-459603
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My company actually does use its own software internally. One of its offerings is a web-based e-mail and calendar system, and all employees are "strongly encouraged" to use the application and report on any bugs. It's not as good as Microsoft Outlook (yet), but I can say that by having so many employees use the application, is has definitely increased the quality of the product. For my company at least, "dog fooding" the product has been a smart move.



By the way.... I like the new site. Keep up the good work. Smile

Regards,

Michelle Ufford
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webrunner
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Should software companies "dog food" their own products?




Interesting question. It made me wonder whether the same questions are asked of other industries - do people who work at car companies drive the cars they make? Do people who work at cereal companies eat that cereal?



I bet the "eat your own dog food" expectation is higher for software than it is for a lot of other companies. It may be that people are still wary of a company that doesn't use the software it makes. But cars and cereal are so perfected and assembly lined, so to speak, that I bet few people question whether those companies do the same thing.



But maybe I'm wrong. It's a fascinating issue.

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Charles Kincaid
Charles Kincaid
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At the dental company we used our own software. It's strange but follow along. Each practice became an account (family). Each person at the practice who could call us became a "patient". Now the fun starts. Each incident type became a procedure. When someone reported an incident we "charged" them for it. The more severe the incident the higher the "charge". When we resolved and incident we posted a "payment" against the "charge" A partial resolution got a partial "payment".



Now an ageing report showed which practices had outstanding issues, how bad, and how long. To schedule service work and callbacks we used the appointment scheduler. The productivity report (dollars by procedure) showed the frequency and severity of issue types.



Our dental practice management software instantly became our software issue tracker. Yep. Use your own stuff when you can. You already paid for it.

ATBCharles Kincaid
Steve Jones
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Charles,

That's great and it's a wonderful example of thinking outside the box and looking for reuse. Probably beats buying anything else or tracking bugs in Excel.

Follow me on Twitter: @way0utwest
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Bob Hoffman-209065
Bob Hoffman-209065
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I guess it would depend if I was importing offshore material to use as filler in my product. Then I definitely would not use my own "dogfood".



I have always enjoyed trying out new software and finding creative ways to break it from what I perceived as normal user interaction.



Back in the old days when software came with printed and bound manuals, they were usually written by the same developer/programmer who was deficient in conversational language. In other words, those writers automatically assumed you already understood certain aspects of the program which of course was not true.



If I could figure out how to make a decent living doing the beta testing, I would do it but it appears to be much cheaper just to throw the product out there and fix it until the next revision comes along and you no longer have to support the old one.
Ivan el terrible
Ivan el terrible
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I do a lot of internal development for my company, since we are in the entertainment business everybody has something to say regardless they know what is going on or not. Releasing software and applications is the hardest part here and one of the reasons that I have been successful in doing it is that I can ignore the senseless parts and focus on the basics and then fix the miscellaneous stuff. This is hard to swallow for a lot of people as they think that software development is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and a lot of developers don’t know how to get the whole thing done. Now the bad part about it is the comments of people that “it sucks” “can’t you get it right”; you know what is way complicated to make applications these days there is a lot of parts to it and putting it all together is not straight forward as it looks from the outside.
Charles Kincaid
Charles Kincaid
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Ivan el terrible (9/28/2007)
I do a lot of internal development for my company, since we are in the entertainment business everybody has something to say regardless they know what is going on or not. ...




Thank God I'm in industrial stuff then. I go out and look at the job that the users are doing. I map out what data the users have, when they have it, and in what sequence. I then make the software ask for it that way.



The other stuff around here is sales order entry and direct store delivery. We told our sales folk to put in our products and services into the test database, take a device home and pretend to use it to make sales the way they would when selling software, barcode supplies, and services. They came back and told us exactly what changes we needed to make in order entry. We then had one of our developers go ride in the delivery van. That fixed the delivery end.



If your users tell you the truth then take that as a guide. If they don't the use YOU best judgement. I've been asked to write software for political campaigns. I won't do it for either party. I just can't trust the client.

ATBCharles Kincaid
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