Do you deliver dazzling demos?

boringdemosDemos, or showcases as they are sometimes called, are a critical ceremony when they are run effectively as they address multiple project delivery objectives in a single event including:

  • Validating that what the team has completed to date is valuable from the perspective of their customer and other key stakeholders
  • Helping the team and stakeholders change or evolve their understanding of the desired solution
  • Getting signoff on completed work items in those organizations where such signoff is a required prerequisite for implementing change
  • Facilitating transparent progress reporting as stakeholders see what was committed by the team and what was completed
  • Providing team members with regular feedback and recognition for their hard work which increases levels of engagement and job satisfaction

But demos are just like any other project delivery practice in that their misuse could result in a worse outcome than if they had been skipped entirely. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help increase the value your team gets out of demos.

  • DO send meeting invitations well in advance and if you are following a standard sprint or iteration cadence (e.g. two or three weeks) then schedule a set of recurring invitations
  • DON’T book demos on Friday afternoons to avoid having stakeholders who are absent in body or mind
  • DO share the wealth by having everyone on the team take a turn to present a demo
  • DON’T use the demo as your soapbox for complaining about the team, blockers or what could or should have been done different
  • DO provide objective context when sharing sprint or iteration outcomes (e.g. committed vs. completed)
  • DON’T present a demo without having tested what you are going to show beforehand
  • DO invite both your customer representatives and relevant control partners to your demos
  • DON’T overwhelm your stakeholders with content
  • DO record the presentations either in advance or (if you feel lucky!) during the demo itself for the benefit of any stakeholders who were unable to attend
  • DON’T take negative feedback personally

While this article is primarily aimed at teams who are using an agile delivery approach, it is equally applicable to traditional projects. Dazzling demos can help sustain the attention and support from your customer and will keep team members focused on value delivery.

 

 

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Categories: Agile, Project Management | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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