Test drive your user story!

A Demo to me is like a test drive. Say I want to buy a second hand car and I see 3 of them I like in the saloon window, all nice and shiny, but I am not sure which one will have all I need. A good shop assistant asks me what my requirements are and suggests we try the first one.

car salesman

The car is clean, smells like new, the guy tells me about performance, fuel consumption, shows me how to operate the GPS, how to engage cruise control and so on.

I’m cruising along, I like it, and I’m definitely going to buy it!

On the way back to the saloon the car breaks down.

How come? the guy just told me that the car had been serviced and was perfect! He is saying something about a small issue with the injector that they are going to fix in 10 minutes when I get back to the saloon. Will I buy it? Probably not. But mainly, do I trust this guy and try any other of his cars? You know the answer. 

A demo is where we show our customers how we have implemented their vision and we demonstrate the newly added business value. A demo is also a point where IT development members should be proud of what they have achieved.  A Demo is an incredibly powerful point for gaining or losing trust and confidence from our customers.

So what do I do to do a good demo? This is my recipe:

Prepare a “Demo Script”. It’s a small document that steps through the paths that I plan to follow when demonstrating my user story to the customers. This helps me focus on the business value I want to express and will be a useful “test drive” when verifying everything is as per the script before I talk to our customers.

It is absolutely fundamental that before the Demo I go through the script and verify everything is as expected. If the car salesman had taken the car for a spin, he would have spotted the injector fault, fixed it before the demo and probably sold me the car.

We MUST do the same with our user stories in the same test environment that will be used for the Demo, our customers don’t care whether it is an environmental issue or not, they know about complex software configurations as much as I know about injectors, very little.

You want the business users to trust you? Test drive your user story with a “demo script” and give a proud and confident Demo!


2 thoughts on “Test drive your user story!

  1. Very nice post Augusto.

    The only problem is that software never behaves as expected during demos.
    You can run as many scripts as you feel and everything will look perfect and ready to be shown, but then, during the demo, there will be always something wrong that you didn’t expect.
    In this case here are some useful explanations you can use with your clients:

    1) Sorry, I know what is, John is already working on this bug.
    2) You are not supposed to click that button during the demo (also look at the client eyes with anger)
    3) Humm… strange, what time is it?. (any answer). Ah so that’s it, at this time Operation is running maintenance of the virtual machines (you can substitute Operation with DBA and virtual machine with db)
    4) Sorry, this is the wrong version of the demo, could you come back later?
    5) From the requirements, I understood that this was the expected behavior.

    I have much more if you need.

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