Sunday, September 30, 2018

Being OPEN about Sprint demos

Consider This

Someone is presenting the work that they have just completed. Compare and contrast the two scenarios below:

"This is freaking awesome!", you think. At one moment, everyone in the room was listening intently - not a word was spoken by the audience. At another, multiple hands went up for questions. Then, there was debate, many questions answered, some actions noted. Finally, the whole room erupted with applause and appreciation for the presenter and for each other.

"Is that all you got?", you can't help but wonder. The room is low energy - the audience is either trying hard to listen, is distracted - only pretending to listen, or just busy chatting with someone else. There are no questions asked, and of course, none answered.


Which of the above scenarios would you like be a part of - in either role, as presenter or as audience?

If you have worked in software development for few years, with different teams or organizations where they demo their work every couple of weeks, then chances are that (like me), you have come across both of these scenarios.

OPEN Rules

Below are the OPEN rules for presenting compelling Sprint Demos that rock:

  1. Ownership - Present it like you own it and acknowledge others who contributed. That will engage everyone who you acknowledge immediately, increase your credibility and tune in anyone who is interested in learning about what you and those you mentioned did.

  2. Purpose - Delve into questions like: What are you demonstrating, what problem does it solve, how far along you are in solving the problem, and what is unique about your solution?

  3. Engagement - As a presenter, it is up to you to make or break your demo. You can decide how you want it to be like - interesting, nerdy, funny, or anything else. Most importantly, show enthusiasm for the topic, as without it you will sap the energy out of the whole experience.  Some things to think about: What is your presentation style? When you speak, can they hear you, understand you? Are you okay being interrupted with questions during the demo or do you want everyone to wait till you have completed your demo? If you do mind being interrupted during the demo, then letting the audience know when you start is a good idea.

  4. Next steps - A demo is a way to present your progress. So, you might have next steps related to what you presented in the following sprint or later. Letting everyone know what those are and what to expect reduces the chances of surprise in the next demo. Plus, you should expect feedback during the demo - most good demos receive new ideas worth exploring or specific things to work on. Make sure you capture it all (better yet, have someone on the team do so) and mention what you will do about the feedback. As you close out, thank everyone for their participation.

Hope you have wonderful demos!

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