Team Agility Master: Product Demo and Review – Facilitate

Working code is the best measure of progress, and the demonstration of working code maintains the buy-in and support of stakeholders. It also provides a means of feedback on whether or not the development is shaping up the way the stakeholders expected. Demos can generate new features and alter the actions of existing features. By planning well for the demo, it is possible to make sure the most valuable work is shown to be completed and acceptable, and can present other work that may need clarification or is important in ways the stakeholders may not immediately see (e.g. infrastructure).

Successful product demonstrations require three parts:

The boundary of the meeting is work that the team committed to for the iteration.

Why to do this practice

Product demonstrations are a conversation between stakeholders and the team. These parties have different perspectives and agendas. The do not think in the same ways. They bring their own sets of feelings, fears, and needs. And, especially early on, they do not understand the demonstration process.

The job of the facilitator is to help these people successfully talk with each other about the current status of the project and agree on next steps. The facilitator is responsible for helping to realize the goals and objectives of the meeting owner or sponsor.

Facilitation is a skill. Facilitation is activity of helping a team of people to improve their effectiveness, addressing impediments and conflicts, creating a safe environment to identify and address issues as a group, and assisting with decision making processes.

The facilitator’s job is to do things like:

  • Drawing out ideas and opinions
  • Writing and communicating on behalf of the team
  • Acting as an occasional referee
  • Helping the team to keep to its process and helping them to revise it when needed
  • Helping to achieve consensus

Who does this practice

Here are the roles involved in this practice:

  • The Product Owner is the usual sponsor of the demonstration.
  • The Team Agility Master is the usual facilitator for the Product Demonstration. Usually, the Team Agility Master is the one to arrange the logistics of the meeting. The Team Agility Master works with the Product Owner to send out communications and invitations. The Team Agility Master is probably the one to document the guidance and insights gained in the meeting on behalf of the team.

What to do

Inputs

Inputs to product demonstration include:

  • The Product Owner’s goals and objectives for the demonstration
  • Understanding what the team committed to for the iteration.
  • Concerns and impediments

Approach

Facilitation is required during both parts of the Product Demonstration:

For each part, the approach to facilitation requires

  1. Understand the goals and objectives of the sponsor and the boundaries of the commitments.
  2. Be familiar with the approaches and objectives of part (Planning the Product Demonstration and Review Conduct the Product Demonstration and Review) and Product Demonstration in Checklists
  3. Handle the logistics for room and materials. Schedule participants.
  4. Identify possible problems. Develop a good facilitation plan and review the facilitation tools that will be used.
  5. Gather and make visible in handouts or charts the data needed for the meeting.
  6. Keep the meeting running and focused. Manage the clock.
  7. Capture notes and insights and distribute to members after the meeting.

When to do this practice

Planning for facilitation should be done at least a few days before the demonstration.

Facilitation is done both during planning and during the demonstration itself.

Where to do this practice

Facilitation is done in the meeting space.

Outcomes

Here are some of the compelling reasons for this practice:

  • Effective communication between all parties
  • Creation of a safe environment for listening
  • Good relationship with stakeholders
  • Clear understanding of the next steps
  • Insights to carry into the Iteration Retrospection
  • Concerns are addressed effectively