Demonstrate Your Success

Show Your Work

The Demonstration Ceremony is where the team “struts its stuff,” showing the Customer what he or she bought with the money invested in the team. In fact, anyone with any interest in the team is invited to see the latest and greatest.

Start out by showing the Sprint Plan, and then allow the people who did the primary work on each completed story to show what they did. Whether it is a packaging mock-up or a redesigned section of a warehouse, the latest version of a Web application or a design document resulting from a research story, walk the stakeholders through the deliverable and the thinking behind it. Answer any questions they have and note their comments or suggestions: These might become new stories in the backlog.

You don’t have to treat each story with equal weight, however. Stories based on user or market requirements will probably get a full walk-through, perhaps grouped by the function or feature. For technical and business requirements, you might just show the story and say briefly what was accomplished.

When everyone is done, ask the requesters present to accept any completed stories not yet accepted. After the acceptances are final, show the Sprint Plan again, and report on how well you met the Agile Performance Standards. Did you deliver all of the stories you said you would? Are all of the bugs from earlier sprints fixed? If not, why not? Explain any anomalies without blaming any individual, and you will meet that standard!

Ask for Input

Some coaches call the Demo the “Sprint Review,” and that probably is a more comprehensive term. Given that stakeholders cannot attend the Retrospective, this is their best opportunity to provide feedback to the team.

After the Demonstration part, open your backlog and show the stakeholders what stories are likely to get into the next sprint, given the current rank order. Open any stories people want to see, and invite input on the stories or the ranking. I have witnessed many occasions where questions from executives or other teams in the business (especially documentation teams) changed the direction of the next sprint to the benefit of customers.

Finally, ask the stakeholders if they have any other input. Topics I have seen raised over the years include:

  • Misunderstandings about Agile or the team’s process.
  • Doubts about the team’s speed or productivity.
  • Suggestions on technical approaches or architecture.
  • General concerns about the project’s direction.
  • Business requirements not yet identified.

Listen to their concerns and promise to address those during the Retro. Decide during that ceremony what to communicate to the stakeholder afterward. This kind of open dialog will do much to eliminate conflicts based on hidden agendas among stakeholders and improve the overall environment for Agile in your organization.

⇒ Steps: Demonstration Ceremony

The Sprint Process | ← Sprint to Success | → View the Sprint in Retrospect