Eating our own dog food

I’d never heard this expression until last week. I was talking to someone about how we use Present.Me day to day and he said ‘Ahh! You eat your own dogfood’. Well, yes, we do. Apparently it started off at Microsoft in 1988 and has become a well known phrase throughout the software industry.

 

So how do we use it? We are a small team in a small office, but not everyone involved works here. We currently have 5 developers in all corners of the globe, all on different time zones. We have 2 designers working remotely and we have 2 of the founders who aren’t working on Present.Me full time. Needless to say, there are lots of opportunities for miscommunication. Like most software companies, we have a whole bunch of tools that keep track of where, who and what, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes things need explaining, and writing a long explanation is painfully slow. Sometimes we can’t all be available for a Skype call either (and we’re a small team – I can’t imagine what it’s like working in a bigger company!).

I’ve just been looking through some examples, and most of them can’t be shared with you as they contain sensitive information (as do most business to business comms). However, here are a few that I don’t mind sharing…

We’ve used Present.Me to put a tender out:

http://present.me/private/76B8F693-0444-423E-844D6098716AE10A

We’ve used Present.Me as an induction tool:

http://present.me/private/2C42002C-1367-4C36-8A97839EF9E48D27

We’ve used Present.Me to hear our web designer explain his thought process on some new designs:

http://present.me/presi/private/BB5FA6CA-4B31-4353-AED1344DE17ECF36

We also use Present.Me to keep all our stakeholders informed of the weekly progress with a short 2 minute update, but these are far too sensitive to share!!

So, we eat our own dog food, bully for us! But the obvious question is, “Does it really help?.” From my perspective, when I send a Present.Me, I know whomever it is intended for is going to understand what I want them to understand, and be engaged in whatever I need them to do.

The way I measure this is that I hardly ever get bugged with questions once I’ve sent a Present.Me. My co-founders don’t feel the need to ring me every 5 minutes to check on ‘our baby’. The developers know exactly what I what I want them to achieve because I’ve explained it to them, and they can keep going back to that explanation. It really does feel like I’ve crossed those things off my ‘to do’ list, and that’s always a nice feeling – maybe we should have a new strapline – Present.Me – it helps you sleep at night!

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