Dogfooding: Working with Project/ Agile Development Tools
Eating your own dog food, drinking your own champagne or using one’s own products or services.
I have worked with several Project/Agile Development tools which I could devote this post to reviewing each but there are plenty of websites that do that. What I would like to do is draw your attention to a product that many may not know about.
The tool is called the Agile Accelerator. It is an app created by Salesforce.com for their product teams to use to track user stories, bugs, etc. during the development for each of Salesforce’s three releases. The tool might have been developed for Salesforce to use, but it was also designed and packaged for anyone to implement within their own instance via a managed package on the AppExchange.
Here is how I believe the Agile Accelerator stacks up using criteria I have developed to evaluate when deciding what product/tool is best for your team:
- Collaboration: Does the product/tool help your team collaborate without creating a spider web of emails, instant messages, etc.? Chatter…need I say more?
- Visual friendly: Can the team look at their work quickly and be able to interpret what actions need to be taken? Some of the most amazing Visualforce pages I have seen.
- Ease of use: Is it easy for a new teammate or one who doesn’t use the product/tool often to use? Like any tool there is a learning period but once you understand it the easy drop and drag features make the tool just as simple as any other tool I have used.
- Configurable: Nothing is out-of-the-box ready, can the product/tool be configured to your team’s needs? Do you know anyone that knows how to configure Salesforce.com?
- Track the lifecycle: Will the product/tool be able to manage your projects from start to finish? With the ability to relate your team’s work directly to cases or other custom objects, you can track a story from beginning to end.
- Reporting: Are you able to use reporting tools provided with the product/tool to help improve your team? Know anyone handy with salesforce’s reporting?
- Flexible: Will the product/tool work with any existing team tools or will it create more administrative tasks for the team? Use all of the features of Salesforce and become harmonized with all of your work within one tool
- Cost: Are the cost associated with the product/tool appropriate for the volume of work you team does? Well if you are already working in Salesforce then the cost is FREE since the app is free.
- Dogfooding / Eating your own dog food: Are you using the product/tool that you are developing for your customers for your own internal purposes? Is all of your team salesforce.com users? Or should I ask, are they all users of salesforce.com?
It is one thing to know your salesforce.com instance inside out, but it can be an entirely eye opening experience to have your team also users of salesforce.com.Using the tool your developing to accomplish processes that your team does day to day is often overlooked. The team gets busy with their own work and stuck with legacy tools that have been in place before most of the team was put together. What does it say to your customers when you are trying to get them to adapt to a new process implemented in Salesforce when your own team continues to use legacy tools?
I strongly feel that you should “eat your own dog food” and use the tool you are building to manage your own work so that you can learn how it feels to be a user. The better your team understands what it is like to be a user, the more likely they will develop the tool with them in mind not just a requirement.
Happy Users = Higher Adoption
So, if you are looking for the Project/Agile Development tool for you Salesforce.com team, I seriously suggest looking at the Agile Accelerator and start “Dogfooding”!
By Ryan Orr, DCS – CRM Analyst / Consultant
Ryan is a seasoned Certified Salesforce Administrator and Analyst with a diverse background in supporting Sales, Operations, Customer Service, Finance, Marketing, IT, and Professional Services.
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