Eat Your Own Dogfood

In the practice known as dogfooding, or “eating your own dog food,” companies employ their own products internally, a method that aids in continuous product improvement and demonstrates a firm belief in their quality.

Definition and Origin

  • Meaning: The practice of an organization using its own products or services.
  • Etymology: The term “dogfooding” is commonly linked to practices at Microsoft during the 1980s, derived from the phrase “eating your own dog food.” This metaphor suggests a company using its own products to demonstrate their quality. The phrase’s exact origin is unclear, but it’s believed to be inspired by dog food advertisements where company executives would eat their own dog food to showcase its quality.

Key Principles

  • Internal Testing and Validation: Using the company’s products to identify bugs and improvements.
  • Demonstration of Confidence: Reflects the company’s belief in its products.
  • Feedback Loop: Employees provide direct feedback as users.


  • Software Development: Used for testing and improving software products.
  • Product Management: Helps managers understand user experience.
  • Marketing: Demonstrates product confidence to customers.


  • Improves Product Quality: Leads to efficient issue identification and fixing.
  • Enhances Customer Confidence: Builds trust through internal use.
  • Direct Feedback: Employees offer firsthand feedback for user-centered design.

Limitations and Criticisms

  • Bias: Potential for non-objective feedback from employees.
  • Feasibility: Not always practical for all product types.
  • Internal Focus: Risk of overemphasizing features important internally but not market-wide.

Relation to Other Concepts

  • Quality Assurance: Part of a broader quality assurance strategy.
  • User-Centered Design: Aligns with prioritizing user needs and experiences.

Broader Implications

  • Corporate Culture: Fosters innovation, responsibility, and alignment with customer perspective.
  • Market Credibility: Enhances brand authenticity and market confidence.
  • Employee Engagement and Morale: Builds connection and commitment among employees.
  • Innovation and Continuous Improvement: Fuels a cycle of development and refinement.
  • Risk Management: Serves as a tool for preemptive risk identification and mitigation.