Does any one have any methods for enabling a team to deliver better demo’s?

I am an Agile Coach working with a team of junior inexperienced cross platform developers.

I have delivered a training session about what good demos look like. I have also sat with them while they do dry runs and offered suggestions.

They usually don’t want to take onboard any advise and I don’t want to manage them and force them to do stuff.

  • They can't all be talking at the same time. Have rest of team critique whoever is presenting at the dry run. The point is to make the dry run a safe place to correct mistakes and for the team to polish their collective image. If Bob ends up looking like a fool in the final presentation, it isn't just Bob that suffers. The whole team takes a hit. – MaxW Dec 3 '17 at 3:31

In my experience reluctance to do demo's or lack of engagement with demo's results from a misunderstanding of what the demo is for.

It is easy for developers (particularly inexperienced developers) to think that a demo is a progress meeting. This happens when the focus is showing how much work has been done and proving the 'worth' of the team.

Demo's work best when the team sees them as an opportunity to get feedback rather than demonstrate progress. One way to achieve this is to encourage the team to phrase their demonstration as a series of questions:

This is how we built the sign-in page, what do you think of it?

The search box could have been in the menu bar, but instead we put it in the page body. Does that make sense?

The team talked a lot about the best way to display this table. What do you think of our solution?

This only works if the team values feedback and has the opportunity to act on it (i.e. the scope is not locked down).


Is the purpose understood? The questions doesn't mention a specific framework or process (i.e. Scrum or eXtreme Programming) which have some intents for such an event. Why things are done is very important.

What is the problem? You just don't like the way they are doing it (i.e. what does "better" mean and why is it important)? There is no involvement by other attendees (i.e. stakeholders and customers)? The information has already been shared via other methods?

There may also be coaching needed for the other participants. If there is to be a conversation regarding the features developed, then the onus should not be entirely on the technical team to elicit discussion.

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