Dogfooding Software Releases

Customer Case Study

Intro

The dogfooding approach to testing software arose from an email sent by Microsoft Manager Paul Maritz in 1988. He advised engineers to fully test their software releases by using the solutions themselves first, effectively “eating their own dogfood”. The concept has spread to many industries, with staff regularly using company services (Airbnb, Lyft and Mastercard) to understand the end-user or partner experiences.

INDUSTRY

Payments

LOCATION

London, UK

Key Challenges

 

  • Our customer operates a software-based business with many thousands of partners embedding the platform within their payment solutions.
  • Partner feedback on the introduction of new products and features highlighted serious shortcomings in the quality of software releases.

Solution

 

  • Recognising that the internal teams could not replicate the experience of an external software development team, our customer engaged BoatyardX as Customer Zero.
  • Our task was to simulate the experience of a partner using a new API, feeding back on progress of implementation and making recommendations for improvement.

Business Benefits

 

  • Extensive feedback on shortcomings within the API and documentation, as well as improvement recommendations enabled our customer to deliver a significantly enhanced onboarding experience for partners.

Company Overview

Our customer is one of the largest companies in the global payments industry, with a stated purpose of connecting and powering an inclusive digital economy by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.

What did BoatyardX deliver?

Our dogfooding process involved emulating how a new partner would integrate with the functionality provided by our customer. We therefore built an application providing a full set of novel services to demonstrate all its aspects using only the published API documentation and support facilities.

 

Our development team liaised with our customer’s dogfooding team on a daily basis, reporting on challenges and bugs encountered to replicate the integration path of a typical partner. Suggestions for improvements were provided, which formed the basis for the customer’s dogfooding team’s report back to the developers.

 

BoatyardX’s deliveries were twofold – firstly a detailed report of how we integrated, highlighting issues, bugs and recommended improvements, many of which have been accepted and implemented by the customer. Secondly, the application delivered is now being used as a showcase for clients of our customer to demonstrate the functionality of the new service.

The Challenge

The scope of the project was two-fold – firstly BoatyardX was responsible for designing and building a solution that is customised per the API characteristics, secondly – to report to the customer on the API integration experience while also providing feedback on the available API documentation and acting as a  potential partner who would use the API services.

The Solution

The required deliverables in this project included the application, as well as the highly detailed description of the experience of building it, per dogfooding best practice.

 

BoatyardX was ideally suited to the task, as our preferred model of working with customers in partnership involves the creation of an integrated team, seamlessly combining business, product, design and development skillsets into one tightly knit team. Ongoing, open and seamless communications are key, which in this instance was fundamental to sharing with our customer what we were achieving, how we were performing and why we were held up or delayed by API shortcomings or documentation errors.

 

The shared insights into the business and technical functionality of the service offering allowed us to build an application which is now deployed as a showcase to highlight its capabilities  

Engagement between the customer and BoatyardX

An integrated team approach was adopted between the two organizations, combining project coordination, design and technical capabilities, in order to deliver both the application and the dogfooding feedback at pace.

 

The engagement was kicked off with a series of discovery workshops. These workshops created space for everyone to work together and explore, analyse and challenge many aspects of the envisaged solution and the business proposition. By analysing the already existing documentation provided by the customer, a clear understanding of the customer need was attained, and this was used in defining the scope of the platform and final deliverables of the project. The key areas focused on were:

• The business service need
• Customer experience
• Adding value through constant feedback and suggested implementation action

The Result

An application built via a dogfooding process to highlight challenges and shortcomings of an API to be released is now being used by our customer to demonstrate the use cases and integration experience of the APIs we have targeted for this simulation project.

 Moreover, our customer was able to iterate and improve on API integration capabilities based on the punctual feedback received on the technical documentation providing better experiences for hundreds of partners now using the service. 

BoatyardX Services

 

  • Product scoping, planning and solution design
  • Full-stack development
  • API integration services
  • UI/UX design
  • Lifecycle management
    Business & technology strategy support

Technologies


  • Frontend:, Vue.js,
  • Backend: Java
  • DevOps: Azure,
  • CI/CD: Jenkins, SonarQube, Gitlab
  • UI/UX design: Figma