Eating dog food can help you be a better leader
Eating your own dog food is a concept also referred to as dogfooding. This is when a company uses its own product which was made famous by Google and Microsoft who employ the tactic to test their products in real-world usage. Dogfooding can act as quality control, and can also be a kind of testimonial advertising. For leaders, it’s a way to truly understand what you have, help you set your future direction and understand the challenges your team face on a day to day basis.
Not to be one shy away from getting my hands dirty, I added myself to the 1st line support rota (permanently I might add!), and last week was my first week in the hot seat. RapidSpike run a 1st line support seat on a schedule Wednesday to Wednesday, where each developer takes time to spend a week in support inline with our sprint schedule. We handle customers issues and queries, but also spend time on continuous improvement by fixing the backlog of non-critical issues that happen in any enterprise digital SaaS platform.
It has to be said that is was a very steep learning curve and fun at times, however, I can’t say I wasn’t glad to hand over the reigns at the end of the week, but the learnings were phenomenal.
- Disruptive to doing: Being on 1st line support is incredibly disrupting to getting stuff done, and in our previous schedule this was super disruptive to progress as everyone was dipping in. Having a person as a focal point is really good.
- No stupid questions: My team rocks. For deeper diving into issues with 2nd line support, mainly because I needed to check my outcomes, the team helped me gain so much confidence over the week in my conclusions, I would have been lost without them.
- The team had my back: It was nice to operate ‘behind the scenes’, no fanfare, and when I made a mistake one the team explained I was a new support person who was just learning the ropes. They had my back every step of the way.
- RapidSpike is really useful: Because I left my technical life a long time ago, I tried to debug, diagnose and solve every issue using RapidSpike as I didn’t have much choice or the skill set. Much to my delight, other than a couple of nmap traces (which I think might be a good tool edition!), I solved every 1st line support issue in our tool and provided great detail to clients and our 2nd line support teams for them to move all issues to resolution.
- Improving understanding: Throughout the time I was using our product it was extremely useful, but I can’t say there were things I wanted it to show me to bring the depth of data to life. It also helped me explain the scenarios to our UI team on why I wanted a change to happen and how useful it could be which was a tremendous help.
- Strategy confirmation: Using the tool really confirmed what I believe but could only hypothesise. We do so much, we capture all sorts and we don’t need loads of new features, we only need to present what we have in a slightly different way.
- New ideas tied to our purpose: The night after I finished support my mind was ablaze with ideas. One of which was writing this blog. Many more centred around tying our core purpose into our insights to ensure our customers are clear why we do what we do. With this new learning in mind, we swiftly discussed, planned and added a variety of new features/updates to the backlog. I love our ability to deliver change quickly!
RapidSpike is not one of those fire and forget uptime tools. Our clients use our expertise to help debug critical application problems which could cause them business disruption. I’m delighted to be part of that team and I’d recommend anyone who wants to truly understand their product and their team.
I’m looking forward to my next serving of dogfood.
Wikipedia Dogfooding – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_your_own_dog_food
Nmap Free Network Mapping Tool- https://nmap.org
RapidSpike Features – https://www.rapidspike.com/all-features/
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