Let’s start with the legend. Back in the 1970s, a popular TV actor did a television commercial for dog food. In it, Lorne Greene told the world he fed his own dog Alpo. Soon after, the rumor spread that the president of Kal Kan dog food personally ate a can of the stuff at a shareholder’s meeting to prove how delicious and nutritious the product was. Yum, right?
When “dogfooding” moved from the pet world into the domain of software, it came to mean testing and perfecting your technology by using it yourself.
Or, as Wikipedia suggests, “In software development, dogfooding can occur in multiple stages: first, a stable version of the software is used with just a single new feature added. Then, multiple new features can be combined into a single version of the software and tested together. This allows several validations before the software is released. The practice enables proactive resolution of potential inconsistency and dependency issues, especially when several developers or teams work on the same product.”
Development teams at companies like Apple and Microsoft enthusiastically adopted dogfooding as a means of efficiently creating, validating and expanding stable, useful products. Here at Y Soft, our HR team is feasting on Clerbo. From the start, our software engineers and our HR staff have worked together to create a product that meets real-world challenges with innovative software solutions. The HR cycle has provided the roadmap for product development as well as proof of concept once new features are added to the application.
As it turns out, this not only speeds up the development process, but it also validates each new functionality we add to the product in a real-world context.
HR defines the need. How do we efficiently onboard new employees? How do we make sure they’re developing the right skills at the right time? What about stuff like parental leave? Switching teams? Leaving gracefully when the time to leave comes? Because our own HR department and the Clerbo development team are in constant contact, the project is well-defined, highly focused and actively validated every step of the way.
Dogfooding Keeps us from Baking Pie in the Sky
It enables our developers to focus on adding innovative features to an increasingly comprehensive, use-based product suite. Our HR team tests new features in real-life situations and reports back on the experience.
Wow! This saves time.
Nice idea, but the users don’t quite understand the directions.
Could we maybe do something like this, only for people who are coming back to work after parental leave?
You know, this might work in more, like, you know, one-off settings, too.
What if. Maybe we could. You know what?
Dogfooding Feeds Creativity
Uniting developers and potential users also keep projects on track. Dead ends get identified and shut off fast. Software bugs and design flaws show up and get fixed before the product is released.
We’re currently developing and testing an end-to-end version of Clerbo with one of our biggest customers on the print management side of our business—an international company that sees the value of automating HR processes throughout the employee lifecycle. This is especially relevant, given the impact of the pandemic on business practices around the world. Finding innovative ways to promote self-reliance and provide a safe interface for HR/employee interactions is dog food worth eating, no matter how big or small a business is.
Clerbo is a collaborative effort between HR and developers and is a key onboarding tool in Y Soft, as demonstrated by our SharePoint.
Monika Motanová, HR coordinator:
"Having the development team in-house allows us to discuss our concerns about using the app right away. The good thing is that we have all the new features prior to their official release. At Y Soft we're continuously looking for ways how to improve employee experience - the onboarding phase of Employee Life Cycle being no exception. Clerbo definitely plays a big role in making our onboarding process smarter (i.e., simple and efficient). Having a chance to continuously iterate it via the direct channel of in-house development is great. Sometimes it feels like experimenting with something undercooked but that's it - we help to make the app better for others. As we say in Y Soft: we drink our own Slivovice*!"
*original Czech spirit
Designing the future look of course filters is truly collaborative process