You talk + I listen = Better Software
Monday, November 17, 2008, by Sebastian Dwornik

dogfooding

I have said it before, and I’ll keep saying it, “user feedback is the single most important driver behind new features and improvements in my products”.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.

Most of the software I develop for Applied PDA is primarily for my own initial use.  Why build something that I won’t directly benefit from?

As the software gets used internally more each day though, various designs and features change.  It quickly becomes apparent that it is not enough to create something that only I can use, but that others can intuitively utilize as well.

So before anything gets released, it has to pass what I call I.B.U.T, “inside the building usability test”.   This is a hack title for a process which simply means that until everyone in the building can intuitively understand the software and are not afraid (or annoyed) to use it, it does not leave the building.

This enforces an active role to get local user feedback and in a way, requires an approval from everyone who might potentially be supporting the software.  A common software term for this is called “dogfooding”.

Such a process can delay the release of software for a short while.  But it also ingrains an attitude that the product is open to suggestions from its users, and that real people stand behind its virtual skin to provide a service in supporting its growth and maturity.

The formula is simple:  You talk + I listen = Better Software.


 

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My name is Sebastian Dwornik and I am an entrepreneur located near Toronto, Canada.

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