You may have seen the blog POC vs. Pilot vs. Production discussing the deployments of solutions and it got me thinking about how we are setup to test our software internally specifically for Cloud Gateway, now part of the Mobile Solutions Bundle (http://www.citrix.com/products/xenmobile/overview.html).

The expression “eat your own dog food  is used regularly by software companies meaning to uses its own product internally to demonstrate the quality and capabilities. We follow this in house although I like to think of it as fine-dining as the goal is to not only be “eating” but enjoying the experience! After all, this is a solution enabling mobility for users everywhere so what good is enablement if you don’t have buy-in from the users.

Our POC phase is very much about getting the new features into a stable environment to see them working end to end to ensure we have working solution. This environment is setup and maintained by one of our test teams and is accessible to all the project teams to try the latest and greatest feature set. At this point, we know there will potentially be issues but it’s about finding these and trying it out to ensure it’s as stable as possible prior to going into our “pilot” phase.

The pilot phase sees the roll-out of the solution to a wider audience, not just Engineering and not just the product group that owns the solution. At this point, we expect the features to be functionally stable and it’s more about looking for feedback from users who are using the software in all different kinds of edge cases. For example, we have users connecting from on the LAN, at home and even lots of different remote locations behind firewalls and from wireless hotspots. While this is also tested at a functional level, this gives us much wider coverage across the board.

The experience is also important in that it not only feels consistent across different devices but that it also feels right for the device being used. As we embrace BYO, we have users using all different kinds of devices expecting to have access to their applications and data regardless of what they’re using but in a consistent way.

This feedback is critical to the team and it’s a key milestone in the release schedule that we are not only deployed internally but that people are enjoying the experience.

The final phase is the production roll-out to all Citrix employees. As mentioned in my previous blog (Living the Citrix story), our solutions are designed to enable people to work and play from anywhere and that includes our employees. Our technology is a key part of enabling us to get what we need to do done on a daily basis and the production roll-out plays a major factor.