Dogfooding at ClaimR

Adriaan Knapen

Adriaan Knapen

Founder of ClaimR

Over the past few months we have been working hard at ClaimR to build a fully-fledged app on top of our verified location technology. Our primary commitment will be to develop state of the art verified location technology and a great developer experience. Now we took some time to build and productize an app for ourselves. It's available for free in the Google Play Store, so be sure to check it out!

Eating Your Own Dog Food#

Eating your own dog food, also known as dogfooding [1], means that as an organisation you also use your own product. As a company, it's very easy to be so exited about building out your core product, that you fail to spend enough time also using your own product in a real production environment. The automatic testing suites, toy-examples and demos you have might give you an accurate view of whether your product works according to your own expectations, but that's only part of the story. There's so much more to building a product which adds value for your customer.

When dogfooding you test something way more important than whether your product technically works: You test whether a customer can produce value by using your product. This is core to any healthy business, and as such it makes dogfooding such an incredibly powerfull tool.

Stop Testing, Start Building Value#

By building, productizing and maintaining an app based on ClaimR's offering, we become our own customers. Ofcourse we already built plenty of small-scale example apps which demonstrated our technology in isolation. But building a product is so much more than getting a developer build running on your phone. You need to take care of distribution, marketing, long term support, maintenance, integration with your existing brand, and comply to privacy guidelines, just to name a few.

Our Learnings#

When building ClaimR Auth, we got some great insights from dogfooding. These insights have helped us shape our roadmap, such that we can focus our efforts on bringing the most value to our customers. Even while developing ClaimR Auth, we have been able to land some big improvements to our product. For example, we have significantly brought down our response time and found that we should expose more details such that we can better inform the end-user about what is going on under the hood.

Interestingly enough, you will find that when working with your own product you can gauge both the experienced pain and expected effort to fix the issue. This gives some amazing insight into what to focus on, allowing you to better optimize your time and effort.

References#

[1] Wikipedia - Eating your own dog food