Joel Spolsky has written an interesting piece about the idea of "eating your own dogfood" which simply means using your own software - people who buy dogfood don't eat it. Over the years, I have seldom been in the position to use the software that Thycotic Software Ltd has developed. The software has usually been out of my realm of usefulness - how many of us even know the slightest thing about chromatography, sewer planning or asbestos claims for that matter?
This all changed when Thycotic decided to productize its internal time tracking and billing system -myclockwatcher.com was born! We use the system everyday as our time tracking system (to track billable consulting hours and product development hours) and now it is also a product for our customers.
Some observations to date:
- Features we need (such as certain reports) are usually also needed by our customers
- Product stability is not negotiable (all hail TDD!)
- Customer requests help us to rethink our own business use of the product
- Using your own product can also be a big selling point to customers
There is further discussion on "eating your own dogfood" here.