Today I would like to talk about the technique we call dogfooding & how we used it to improve our latest Messaging & Directory Coexistence & Migration Products.
"Eating our own dogfood," or “dogfooding”, here at Microsoft is often referred to as using & relying on our products in our day-to-day jobs, pre-RTM, to validate they are production ready before we ask our customers to. Although the idea is certainly not unique, it certainly is a crucial part of our Microsoft culture & hence part of our testing criteria.
· Helps uncover “production” issues not uncovered in test environments
· Presents us with the same issues, such as design flaws or deployment issues, our customers experience - thus guiding us to fix them before the final release.
· Allows us to experience the solution directly in a real, rich and complex environment – in a huge infrastructure such as Microsoft.
· Allows other Microsoft teams using our products routinely, to give feedback during the early development stages, aside from our development team (i.e. at MS, email is critical to our jobs for everyday work & hence dogfooding becomes an internal community effort)
· Shows our customers we believe in our products
Our team uses every opportunity to Dogfood our products. We dogfooded the most recent release of the Notes mail Connector, Calendar Connector & Domino Mailbox Migration Wizard – both prior to Beta release and after. It was amazing to see directory synchronization of more than 75,000 objects replicate from Microsoft's Active Directory to Domino's Directory. Second, when mail flow & Free/Busy were established between the Domino and Exchange Servers (in Microsoft’s production IT environment) everyone on our team became a Notes mail database owner/operator, with some of us using Notes exclusively to live the life “of a customer” during a similar migration.
We are armed with several weapons of mass bug destruction, and I will describe them in my future blogs.