The first rule of IT ought to be to always eat your own dog food. Eat your own dog food is much more than a rule. Eat your own dog food is a first principle of IT.
That is why in the era of BYOD, the more IT decides to break this first principle the more likely it is that you have a failing IT organization.
Eat Your Own Dog Food Meaning
At its core, eat your own dog food means that you use the products and services that you provide. It means you use all of the IT services the same way you require your customers. You follow your own processes and you use only the systems and applications that you allow your customers to use.
BYOD is not Your Own Dog Food
By definition, BYOD is not eating your own dog food and it is the #1 sign of a failing IT organization.
When the IT department is enjoying all the perks of BYOD that the rest of the users can’t have, you are telling your users that you think you are special – that the rules don’t apply to you.
More importantly, it says that you don’t have to put up with the poor performing PC’s and blasted thin clients you deploy that drain the productivity of your users and affect employee morale of your company.
Is Your Dog Food in the Cloud
BYOD is not the only example of breaking the first principle. Lot’s of IT professionals regularly use cloud services under personal accounts to increase their own productivity and leverage smart tools. And sometimes, IT staffers are using cloud services simply to get around their own policies.
It is also common to find that the IT departments own use of various cloud services for production that violates many of their own IT security and privacy policies. Usually when this is occurring there is a convoluted rationalization behind breaking the policy.
Process Puppy Chow
IT processes are often the greatest point of infraction for the IT department who decides they don’t have to eat their own dog food. This includes a wide range bad decisions that suffer from bad optics.
Not using the help desk, not following the project management process, not following procurement requirements and enterprise standards, and almost every operational process you can imagine.
Every time IT sidesteps its own processes it loses authority to require their customers to never deviate.
Rank Has its Privileges
It is true that rank has its privileges. It is also true that decisions have consequences. As leaders you have to decide if your are in fact leading on corporate compliance and governance or you are leading a revolt.
That doesn’t mean IT can’t have its toys, it just means IT should not be the only one using them. More importantly it means IT leadership should not be first.
Think about the appearance. Think about the leadership message it sends when you are not eating your own dog food.
Think about all the issues in your environment that you have no visibility into because you are not using your own PC’s or the productivity tools of your users.
Think about all the other rules your team is choosing not to follow because of your own selective enforcement. Think about the impacts on your goals.
Think about how not eating your own dog food is contributing to your departments customer service mindset and overall effectiveness when IT is not its own customer.