The first time I heard the term was from our then-CTO, Andy. We were just a couple of months into working on Tixers as a full team – Alex, Andy and I.
Andy had just begun building the first truly functional version of Tixers, our secondary ticketing platform, and he was looking to me to run through and test the experience. He came from Fitbit and told us that “dogfooding” was the best way to practice empathy and build a better product.
Dogfooding, or “eating your own dogfood,” is a phrase used for testing your own product or service as a customer. And when I dogfooded Tixers for the first time, it was painful.
There is no way I’d choose to use this website.
But it was an effective test, and really helped me understand what a user would be experiencing (and frustrated with) as we built out the platform. It laid the groundwork for learning quality assurance (QA) testing and product management as a whole.
Fast forward to today, and I’m still dogfooding. I’ve worked with every member of Unreal Collective to do a goal setting exercise before our micro community calls start, and I’ve done the same process for myself.
I’m forming my own micro community of peers to meet with every week to talk about my own work and my own goals.
The quickest way to find vulnerabilities, weak spots, and break points is by walking through the experience of your user or customer yourself. It helps to come up with ideas and solutions too.
And if you’re not willing to do it, why should anyone else be?