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Letters to a Young Manager

Eating your own dog food, #67
LTYM > Process and Operations Management

Dear Sophie,
Does your IT team use the applications it implements? I can think of no better way to empathize with your customers, external or internal.

Remember the IT person who built the accounting app in Pakistan? [1]. It was used primarily for purchasing. But here's the kicker, the IT team in the office did not use it to buy IT goods and services! They would have seen first hand how difficult it was to use the app across branch offices, especially in a country where Internet connectivity was a challenge.

Cisco was one of our founding partners at NetHope. We used their network equipment everywhere. So did most organizations. Cisco provided much of the equipment for the Internet backbone. But they also used it themselves for their own network and communications needs. Their principle was "we always eat our own dog food." [2]

Can you say the same about your IT group?

[1] See "Off the Shelf," Story #66.
[2] For a good discussion on "dogfooding," as it were, see Wikipedia:


IT needs to eat its own dog food

Discussion Questions:

1) Are IT needs part of your application analyses?
2) What are other ways your team can empathize with business users?
3) What apps are your internal and external customers using that you are not? Why not?

For Further Reading:

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