Demos are a crucial part of our development process. Here’s a quick look at why - as well as a guide to running great demos.
Demos enable us to get real feedback on what we’ve built - both from our clients and the rest of the team. This allows us to make sure we’ve built the right thing and, if necessary, could prompt us to correct course. Demos also give each team a defined destination for the end of each sprint.
A demo brings all the members of our team together with the client’s team, allowing for cross functional collaboration that is often hard to achieve when talking about abstract concepts.
Demos allow both internal and external stakeholders to see how a project is progressing. There will often be many stakeholders who aren’t involved in the day-to-day, so the demos provide a great opportunity to keep them up to date. This is important so that:
Demos are also super important for the DVELP team as a whole. They’re an opportunity for developers to show off the hard work they’ve been doing whilst improving the team’s presentation and communication skills at the same time.
The ideal demo time is at the end of a sprint. This gives you a fixed point on which to focus and a regular standard for demos.
However there are some other times that demos can be useful. At DVELP we have regular team meetings which are a great opportunity to show off our work to the wider team. We’ve found that showing is normally better than explaining! You may want to demo work during a sprint as it will be easier to explain to the team and stakeholders what you’ve done and where you might need their input.
When preparing for a demo you should think about who you’re actually demoing your work to. How technical are they? How involved have they been in this sprint and how aware are they of what you’ve been working on? Stay away from technical jargon if most of the stakeholders aren’t technical. Recap your progress through the week if some of the stakeholders haven’t been in standups.
Start by taking a step back and explaining the user story you’ve been working on. Telling the stakeholders a story of how the feature you’re demoing will actually be used by their business will really help them understand the value you’re providing.
The most important thing to do before a demo is to prepare. We practice our demos beforehand; other members of the team are always happy to be our audience! If you need someone else's help to perform the demo, ask that person in advance and make sure they’ve practiced with you too. Just before the demo, make sure you’ve got all the right applications open. Preparation is key to a successful demo and you’ll feel much more confident.