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20 Mar 2016

Benefits of demonstrations for Agile projects

by Melanie Franklin

Show and tell or demonstrations are an essential element of agile projects. In order to continue with the project we need feedback on what works and what else is needed.

So far so normal….but I think there is an even more important reason for creating in-depth, experiential demonstrations. We need the ‘business’ i.e. that collective term for those who are going to use our project deliverables to really understand what changes they have to make. It is only by experiencing what we are creating that our business users can start the process of imagining new ways of working. In the AgilePM process model this step is called Deployment. It is the change management activities needed to move from existing processes to new approaches.

We need our business users to be inspired by our demonstration because they have to work out:

  • Changes to process
  • Changes to their responsibilities and roles
  • Change me to their performance metrics and quality standards
  • Changes to the timing of when they do things – and the knock on effects for customers and suppliers
  • Changes to the format of what they produce and how this needs to explained/sold to customers

So this blog is a plea to put more planning, more imagination and more rehearsal time into our demonstrations so we are better able to provide answered for how things might work to our business users.

Benefits of demonstrations

Demonstrations show that the project team are organised because there is a clear path to lead people through how to use the deliverables and the impact that using the deliverables will have. I have listed the main benefits as I see them but this list is by no means exhaustive.

  • Demonstrations build confidence in the project team.
  • It demonstrates the quality of the work.
  • Time saving because we can hear the questions immediately we present and we can answer them directly
  • It is a visualisation technique which brings the project deliverables to life
  • It clears the obstacles because face to face discussion identifies the obstacles but also provides a forum for creating ideas about how to overcome them.
  • Experience of the project deliverables is better than interpretation of a written document as it stops the project relying on the quality of the description to gain authorisation and replaced it with experience of the deliverable instead.
  • Use of scenarios demonstrates how the project deliverables will work in live situations

Learn more on the AgilePM training course

Every time I run my AgilePM Practitioner training course I get asked to spend time on this subject. Delegates always come away with a very practical insight into how they may run their own Demonstrations so if you are thinking about this subject then join me on my next course running 29th March through to 1st April 2016.

Melanie Franklin
20th March 2016