Monday, March 26, 2007

Eating Your Own Dog Food In Other Industries

There is a notion in parts the software industry that it is a good and necessary thing to "eat your own dog food", meaning that the developers of a piece of software should be active, committed users of it. I think this ethos transfers well to other industries and environments...I thought of this when I heard a report about the filthy, dirty rooms in Walter Reed Army Hospital (not just the outpatient annex, but even in the main hospital). It seems to me that a good practice for management would be to make a point of spending a few nights in the hospital each year. I suppose arranging it and keep it secret could have complications, but the basic idea applies.

Another area I have always thought this approach would be useful is in "VIP" flagging of customer accounts. For instance, my wife worked in healthcare claims years ago, and they definitely flagged the claims of the customer's senior mangement for special-handling. If I were the customer, I would forbid this. Not so much out of egalitarian notions, but rather because if VIPs are getting special treatment, the very people who are the decision-makers regarding the insurance service provider are going to be screened from getting an accurate read on the quality of claims-payment performance.

Same thing for your local help desk--absolutely no VIP handling, until and unless a VIP demands it.

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