Before I came to work at Trisk, I had never heard the phrase “Eat your own dog food.” Don’t get me wrong, when I first heard it, I was surprised by the kind of practices the team followed. I thought maybe it was a prank* (a practical joke or mischievous act) or some tradition to feed dog food to newcomers. I was embarrassed to ask what it meant for the first few months. I had already started to choose which dog food is the most delicious since I still would have to try it… Luckily, the team explained to me what it meant.
Dogfooding seems appropriate and necessary for those who develop any SaaS solution. However, I feel I must explain to those who, like me, don’t know that “Eat your own dog food” or “dogfooding” simply means “You need to use the product that you are developing.” So, I’d like to tell you about
3 cases where we use our own product.
Before we start, I have to introduce you, dear reader, to the context and say a few words about our product, Trisk. First, this is not an advertisement. If you notice that I’m over-praising my product somewhere – well, maybe I just like what I’m developing. Trisk is a no-code solution for building various processes for every person and every business.
I need to start from the short glossary – the main tools of the Trisk platform that will be mentioned later in the article:
- Fill Form – creating all kinds of forms to collect information from the user, also includes if/then conditional functionality;
- Form Approval – validation of the data entered by the user in the Fill Form step;
- Document Delivery – tool for sharing and approving documents (PDF);
- Launch Workflow – a step that launches a new workflow for any user based on if/then functionality;
- Notification – send a custom notification to someone;
- Garage – is our file storage. All data on any processes are stored there.
That’s enough to get started, so let’s go.
1. New teammate onboarding
I’m sure many people know that the process of integrating a new team member can be challenging. Before an employee can start work and get involved in the project, many organizational issues need to be addressed. In Trisk, all these issues are resolved by HR and accounting departments. On the Internet, you can easily find many CRMs that help HRs complete this process, but at one point, we thought and decided.
Why should we use a third-party product for a task that our platform can easily do?
The first step is Fill Form with IF/THEN Connect, which is handled directly by the responsible employee. This person selects the candidate type (individual or company). Depending on his choice, the next step displays an NDA contract template and a Consulting Agreement that needs to be completed and signed. Then the HR manager fills out and signs the contract directly with the employee at the meeting (if a new employee can come to the office) or creates a new Document Delivery task and runs it on a newcomer. After the documents have been filled out and signed, the HR manager uploads them to the appropriate form fields and completes the task.
After that, the task is sent to the head of the HR department for approval. If something does not meet the requirement, the head of HR will return the task to the subordinate with the appropriate comments. Everything happens within Trisk…no emails or Slack messaging!
2. Marketing articles
Our team members like to express themselves through writing various articles, especially our main stakeholder, Tom. This is highly encouraged within our team. Usually, when a person takes the initiative and writes an article, the next step is to send it to the marketing department for further processing and publication in a particular social network. Previously, all communication in this process took place using the communication tool familiar to every user – e-mail.
But such communication sometimes goes differently than you want, and the article can be lost somewhere in the mailbox waiting to be noticed. Tom got into such a case a few times, which really pissed him off.
Not surprising that one day we came to such a simple and ingenious decision – to use our own product! As Trisk was invented to improve business processes.
Instead of sending the document via e-mail, Tom started the simplest Document Delivery task on our platform and assigned it to an employee of the marketing department. Since it was the quick impromptu solution to test the process, so as not to waste time coming up with a name, Tom called this workflow simple “Tom’s workflow.”
After that, everything went like clockwork. The quick solution brought its result. When the marketing department returned the task with comments for a little revision, Tom also could no longer skip this notification because Trisk constantly reminded him that he had one unresolved task and pushed to finish it as quickly as possible. Since then, the process has been going on exactly the same way. Each author uses Tom’s workflow template for quick communication with the marketing department. And by the way, the team decided not to change the name, so new employees are constantly wondering what is this mysterious “Tom’s workflow?” 🙂 (It’s also one of the hundreds of workflow customization options available to make your processes unique or just fun.)
3. Tutorial Wizard
Since our project is an aircraft (F-16, to be more precise. As a Ukrainian, I now happen to know weapons.), sometimes there are difficulties in addition to all the advantages. We all look at these huge flying machines and dream one day, at least once, of surfing the skies at its helm. But as soon as we see the dashboard, we take this dream into a long box, don’t we?
So, our task to this day is to simplify the control of such a device from a million-button panel to a PlayStation joystick.
We decided to create a set-up workflow with the user by collecting data through answers to simple questions. And then, based on their answers, run the workflow so that a person can complete it and look at what they just did from the performer’s side.
So, from a technical point of view, the first thing that came to our developer’s mind was: “Hmm, we need to create question entities with answers, based on the answers, use the algorithm to calculate and assemble a suitable workflow for the user, then run it…” But at some point, it dawned on us … Stop! We’ve already done this somewhere. We already have a data collection tool (Fill Form), a tool for building further logic based on the answers (IF/THEN Connect), and a workflow launch tool (Launch Workflow Step). It’s like trying to reinvent the wheel when you already have a Ferrari parked in your garage. So we made all the flow that needed to be implemented with our own tools without involving developers. (Wait, we are developers! We built a tool that lets us do our work without us having to do our work. It is genius!) All we had to do was just run this workflow on a newly registered user and show it to the new user first.
This was my debut in writing an article. I hope you, dear reader, find this information helpful or motivating. As a developer, product manager, or any other employee in the business process, I hope you understand the advantages of dogfooding from these examples and adopt this idea to your business.
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