Perception. The notion that you are doing something correct based on surroundings or indicators. When you develop a product or a methodology, you have a vision that your product has minimal flaws. You think that it could change the way we live. The problem is this product might just be flawed before it even ships. Why? Lack of Dogfooding and quality feedback. Without this, you’ll be slapped so hard with the wet squid of reality, you will be tasting the ocean for week. So how do you change this?
It is paramount to know your target audience. If you’re developing a Continuous Integration (CI) platform for example, then you need to understand what the requirements are of people who use CI. Find out and know the problems that exist in current work flows and products. What problems are they facing? Is their workflow optimal? Why is their workflow broken? What could solve this? When you find the answers to questions such as these show how you may solve those problems. Develop a minimal viable product that incorporates this feedback. Present it against. Talk it through. –Sometimes– All the time there is a disconnect between end-users and the people who use a product and those that make it. I believe these gaps appear when feedback is sampled incorrectly.
You should present to your toughest critics. Don’t be scared of the feedback no matter how raw and truthful it is. Why? The problem is if a product is given to people who you know will give favourable feedback or won’t be brutally honest then this gives the wrong perception. It skews the information about the product and feedback does not reach development. This feedback cannot right the wrongs of poor work flows. Critical and intrinsic functions may be sub-par, inadequate, or quite simply wrong for a work flow. This all leads to bad user experience and product. All because feedback was not sought from the right people.
With that said receiving feedback is tough. Many people don’t like it. Most human beings will get defensive if someone gives feedback – let alone negative. Negative feedback should never been taken personally when given correctly. It is essential for negotiating everyday life. When feedback, either positive or negative, is given it should be seen as an opportunity to improve. This ability to incorporate feedback into constructive output is a must.
This all comes back to Dogfooding. Dogfooding is the notion of using products or tools you make to find out how they work in the real world. Some people and companies will never Dogfood correctly and accept the feedback. It is in their culture. They don’t tolerate it. Ergo, they may just be tasting the tangy taste of sea water for a long time.