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  • How eating our own dogfood doubled our productivity

    We started our company Zinda with a mission of reimagining connected communities in the workplace. We knew that getting customers feedback ingrained in our product development was a big part of what would make us successful. This is our story of how we used customer feedback to double our productivity and drastically reduce our product lifecycle.


    First, we listened..

    When we started our journey with our Product, Journey from Zinda in early 2016, getting customer validation and feedback was very hard. It was probably because we didn’t know at that time how to ask the questions. We should spend a lot of time explaining the features of Journey, beaming widely like a proud parent. It was hard for people to give feedback at first because everyone loved the concept, but didn’t know how exactly it worked. When we reached a point when we were sure that people loved the concept and we were even more sure that they really didn’t have anything more to add until they had something in their hand, we decided to build a minimum viable product. We would have the first conversation, maybe a second conversation and the missing elephant in the room was “I want to see what the product looks like”.  When we started the turnaround for a product feature was around 3 months elapsed time from idea to validation. We found this excruciatingly slow.

    Then, we got feedback..

    Once we started building the Journey app, it became a lot more concrete for people. It was hard to explain to people how technology can motivate people, nurture trust, develop relationships – all focused on common goals while people were able to make progress on their personal journeys as well. It became easy when we could demo the product, people understood. Everyone was excited about the possibilities of Journey and how it can work in their environment. You could see that the wheels were turning as they were thinking of how it can be used in their environments. There was still a question of : what would make people want to use it? Is it another tool in the arsenal? Why would I use Journey in addition to all other software that I have?  For us to go from idea to new feature to feedback and tweak was probably still 8 weeks. That was too slow as well.

    We experienced the product ourselves..

    We turned a corner in how we approach our product Journey when we made the decision to start using the product. The effect was nothing short of transformational. If earlier the issue was that we didn’t get enough feedback, the issue now was that we could not catch up with feedback. This feedback was given by everyone, co-founders, advisors, testers, pilot customers, friends, and family. Now we had hundreds of people using, watching and providing tons of feedback! We were able to reduce our product lifecycle to load serious features in each sprint. In a pinch, we could load every day if we wanted!