The good, the bad and the ugly of using your own product for work

The good, the bad and the ugly of using your own product for work

Marketers and product teams dream about having the opportunity to use their own product in day-to-day life. What happened when the BugHerd team has this chance?

Merrin Hughes


October 22, 2020

Bugherd software on screen with paper plane flying in

Recently the team at BugHerd started refreshing the BugHerd website. This presented us with an opportunity many people in product and marketing dream about. The chance to use our own product as part of our day-to-day work. At BugHerd, we actually do this a lot. As a company that creates software to make it easier to review and test websites before launch, we’d be crazy not to.

For me, it was one of the first times in my career I’d really been able to be a more genuine user of my own software. Mostly I’ve made do with creating use cases based on customer conversations. This was different, and here’s what I learnt from it.

taking a look under the hood
It's time we took a look under the hood.

The Good

You really get to know your product

I’m pretty sure I sounded like a “late-to-the-party-but-making-up-for-it” fangirl during my interview with the BugHerd team. As a product marketer, I’d looked at the product pre-interview. I was unapologetically enthusiastic about how it could have helped previously in my career. For website builds, rebuilds and refreshes. 

I’m a big fan of everyone in a company having a play with the software they’re marketing or selling. Unsurprisingly, using your product in your own day-to-day work life gives you a really good insight into how it works, what’s good and what draws people to it. Obviously customer conversations and listening to how others use it remains important too. 

Using BugHerd to give feedback on our own website was great for reinforcing what I’d heard from customers, and included in our marketing messaging. Why yes, it is easy to use. It does streamline feedback by keeping every piece of feedback in one place. As a marketer it helps me feel that the feedback I’ve provided is being heard and more importantly, actioned. I could track what had been done on the project and what remained. It also let me see what colleagues had provided as feedback and allowed me to weigh in on the discussion. Even though we’re all working from home.

Using your product in your own day-to-day work life gives you a really good insight into how it works, what's good and what draws people to it.

Basically, it reinforced that the way we communicate our product to clients is actually what the product does.

Gain empathy for customers

Talking to customers is the bomb. It really is one of my favourite things to do. There is no better way to get an insight into how other people are using and getting value from your product. Note the use of the word other. Using your own product doesn’t take the place of talking to customers. 

What it does is give you empathy for those who have the same experience that you’ve had, and a shared experience of the product. It’s a joint walk beside your customers and their experience. Just don’t expect every customer to feel the way you do.

The Bad

You’re not an impartial judge

Onto the bad side. No matter how open minded a person you are - you are going to have biases about your own product. This can work two ways. You can either: 

  • Believe that it’s the best thing since sliced bread, or
  • See the things that don’t work as well as you’d expected. Focus on all the faults, and hear every negative thing anyone has ever said about it. 

If it’s the second, remember that seeing the negatives is valuable insight into what can be improved. Just make sure you’re not an edge case before you head down that road.

Unless you trial it against competitors, you’re not really getting the same experience as potential customers

Unless you’re also using a competitor in your day to day work, you’re still going to have a biased opinion of whether your product is the best for better or worse.

Either way, stepping back and comparing it to not having the tool, is always going to be the best way to assess the value of your product.

The Ugly

Don't mistake your experience for everyone else's

As mentioned above, your experience as a user is valid and there will be similar customers. I’m a marketer, working in an internal team. That’s one use case out of many for BugHerd. Our designers, developers and even our COO have different experiences and feel differently about the product.

What benefits they take from the product will be different. As a marketer, you need to ask them about it and include that in your audience profiles.

team collaboration
Collaborating and listening are key to understanding unique experiences.

You’re going to want to review and rewrite your marketing

You will. Before you tear everything up though, take the advice from above. Your experience is one out of all your customers. Not every marketer is the same as me.

Keep the idea that the problem your product is solving is most likely going to be similar for multiple customers though, and work from there.

Just do it.

Working with your own product has far more benefits than negatives. Even the fact that you’ll see what your product doesn’t do is a positive and at BugHerd we have a list of things that we’ll test with customers to see if they experience it too.

As a marketer it’s a great way to understand how your solution solves the pain that your customers are feeling. Which in turn makes it easier to create marketing that gets to the point better. So how did we find using BugHerd in our team? 5 stars, would recommend.

As a side note: If you are a marketer looking for an easier way to manage feedback on a website project, I do genuinely recommend taking a look at BugHerd. Yes, my opinion is biased.

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