Test Strategy

How Dogfooding Helps Build a Strong Remote Culture

As many teams are now working remotely (or have some sort of hybrid component), it’s challenging to maintain the same level of engagement and productivity that once existed. Remote teams can achieve a thriving remote culture, but it’s going to take some effort to ensure everyone feels aligned and included. One way to ensure your team feels included is to include them – an inclusive remote work culture unites employees around a shared sense of purpose and having a common goal gives the team something to work toward, together.

Regardless of where you’re working physically, something still unifies an organization no matter the distance – the products they design, develop, market, sell and support. Getting employees involved in the product development process, having them use the products themselves internally, and soliciting their feedback on the product can be extremely valuable for an organization. Use of one’s own products, or commonly known as dogfooding or alpha testing, is a unique engagement opportunity for teams to solve problems and extract insight from their very own before product launch.

What problem is being solved by dogfooding?

Getting the product into the hands of your employees and colleagues can have significant benefits to your product, development, and organization. Dogfooding breaks down departmental silos by giving employees an opportunity to contribute to something meaningful while increasing their knowledge of the product. Most importantly, dogfooding is a great opportunity to view your product from the perspective of customers or clients, and by extension, ensure the user experience is exactly what you’d like it to be.

What happens if you solve this problem?

The unique perspective that dogfooding gives you, will mean that you will continue to keep your customers at the forefront, which in turn will help your organization constantly evolve and drive your products forward in a meaningful way. 

Centercode's 2022 Industry Trends Report indicates that 64% of respondents felt dogfooding had a noticeable impact on their brand. While 84% of respondents using Centercode reported that dogfooding had a noticeable effect. 

An organization that promotes and values employee feedback will see noticeable improvements to company culture, product enablement, and product quality.

Company Culture

What is company culture?

Company culture is the shared values, behaviors, and standards that make up a work environment. It’s about the experience people have in the workplace and how that experience creates alignment between the organizational mission and core values. When a company has a strong culture, employees are engaged, committed, and more productive.

Why does it matter?

Company culture is important because it directly affects how your employees and customers perceive you – and this greatly determines how successful your organization will be. With most teams physically distanced, it’s key to cultivate a strong remote culture. Through an effective combination of tools, best practices, and attitudes, you can create a remote culture that’s dynamic, productive, and sustainable. Creating and evolving company culture is something that all remote organizations must prioritize.

How does dogfooding help?

Dogfooding helps build a strong remote work culture through collaboration and creates internal alignment by keeping employees informed and engaged. Employees want to feel like they're a part of the team, and dogfooding provides an opportunity to work together as a unit and cultivates an inclusive remote environment.

A McKinsey study found that 39 percent of all respondents say they have turned down or decided not to pursue a job because of a perceived lack of inclusion at an organization.

Dogfooding:

  • Creates a sense of belonging – inclusion matters more than ever and is fundamental to the success of a remote team
  • Facilitates team collaboration – encouraging employees to work together boosts morale across your team
  • Emphasizes the importance of employee contributions – conveys the message that their voice will be heard to influence products

Product Enablement

What is product enablement?

Product enablement is a process that helps companies educate their employees about the products they produce so they can be successful in their roles, a strategy applied to every department within an organization – from sales to program managers to support. This allows the different teams to learn about product features and use cases first hand.

Why does it matter?

Product enablement can be useful for many things – from raising awareness about your product internally, improving communication between departments, and equipping the marketing and sales teams with what they need to succeed. Preparing different teams within your organization with relevant information about your products enables them to perform their jobs more effectively and allows you to build greater, more competitive products.

How does dogfooding help?

Early access to technology can produce a wealth of knowledge for employees that will be marketing, selling, and supporting the product as it is released. Dogfooding enables your employees by:

  • Encouraging them to collaborate with their colleagues
  • Providing them with the resources they need to perform more effectively
  • Equipping them with relevant product knowledge and hands on experience

Product Quality

What is product quality?

Product quality refers to how well a product satisfies customer needs, serves its purpose and meets industry standards. When evaluating product quality, organizations often consider the usefulness of a product, the ease of use, and the reliability of a product.

Why does it matter?

Product quality has a huge effect on the success of your business – it ensures you meet the customer needs and expectations, builds customer loyalty, and sets you apart from the competition. Creating quality products will continue to be the most important thing to customers.

How does dogfooding help?

As your employees use the pre-released product during dogfooding, they will encounter issues, ideas, and praise that will help stabilize your product. Remember, improving your product is a continuous process.

  • Increases product knowledge and awareness – provides the opportunity for employees to get hands-on experience and builds strong internal awareness.
  • Serves as an internal sanity check – ensures all product components including quality perform as initially intended before launch. 
  • Promotes a collaborative remote work environment – allowing your employees to collaborate through dogfooding builds enthusiasm and breaks down silos throughout your organization.

Building a Strong Remote Work Culture Benefits Every Corner of the Organization

Be mindful and intentional when rethinking how your employees work together to better your products – dogfooding provides a much-needed opportunity to iterate on meaningful, real-world product feedback before launch. 

To learn more about the benefits of gathering pre-release employee feedback and start delivering increased value with dogfooding, check out our new Dogfooding Tester Guide.