One of the last team demonstrations opened up with,
"I've been working on this for a long time. So, just watch and don't say anything."
I thought to myself, so what's the point of having a Demo? Here are a few things that I could come up with during the demo.
Purpose - The demo is a great way of showing off, "What did you work on?" The team should be proud of its accomplishments. Almost like buying a new car. Don't you like to take your friends for a spin after getting new wheels?
Learning Opportunity - While this is a an opportunity to get honest feedback on what you are building, this isn't a place to make people feel bad. I cooked a brisket for the first time last weekend. Cooked it for 6 hours, adding wood chips every hour and maintaining the temperature. The family that we were eating with said, "Duane, the flavor is amazing! However, it's a little tough." Not a winner but now I know what I can work on. In my opinion, software developers are like artists and critique can be misunderstood. So, please practice constructive criticism. A safe environment for feedback produces a learning environment.
Is it Done? - The team should be asking itself, "Did we get it right?" In other words, did we deliver what was expected. If you are way off the mark, it might be time to look at your process. For example, how you are grooming stories? or who is attending your grooming sessions. If the product owner doesn't attend, you might need to make some adjustments.
Improvement - Spend time in a joint discussions with the product owner and/or business stakeholders to close any gaps more quickly. Make sure to note how you can improve in your Retrospective.
Other Considerations - Spend 30 mins prior to the Demo session to do a trial run. Check off the list.
Make sure you have the correct credentials to log onto the system.
Double-check you are in the right environment (Int, Test, Stage, etc.).
Practice sharing your screen if you are using new applications or technology.
If there is more than one presenter, determine the flow and the order of the presenters.
Make sure you have the right people in the room. This avoids duplicated effort or buy-in from the wrong stakeholder.
Capture feedback from your audience, regardless if it hurts. Delivering a product or service in the next iteration will be rewarding.
This helps reduce distractions and improves engagement during the session.
What else might you get from Demos?