How to demo your work as a software developer
Why customers reach out to Shinetech Software
There are three main reasons why customers reach out to Shinetech Software:
- They have an idea they want to create or validate
- They have a need to improve an aspect of their business
- They have a plan to expand their growth
Essentially, our customers want to grow a new idea or improve an existing aspect of their business. They have a problem and have come to Shinetech in search of a solution to their problem. As a software developer, your primary goal is to understand their idea and determine how the technology can fit and complement their business. You gain deep and specific knowledge during the initial conversations before starting the project. On the other hand, if you are joining an existing project, you can rely on other developers within the team to help you quickly get up to speed.
Preparing for the demo
After discussing the requirements, expectations, and technology that fits their business, you begin your work. Since we develop software iteratively, the customer expects to see progress and, more importantly, to understand it.
What you need to do as a software developer now is to:
- Demonstrate the new code
- Demonstrate what you fixed or improved so far
- Demonstrate how you are taking into account their input
- Manage their expectations
Frequently, it is not enough to just talk about what you did while sharing your screen during a conference call. It is always good to bring more material you think the customer will find helpful to the meeting. Here is what potentially helps the customer understand how much input you had:
- A table of outstanding vs. completed tasks (also, you can include task completion percentages or color code your table)
- A visual comparison of the current sprint vs. the previous one
- If you are using a project management tool, extract the completed tickets
- A timeline for the present or the upcoming sprint
- An estimate of how much time you spent working on the problem
- If the problem is complex, a mind map helps visualise the scope
You can dedicate 3 minutes to mention the above points at the beginning of the demo. If you are working with a project manager or within a development team, you can suggest sending a weekly update that includes a document of some or all of the above points. If you are working alone, sending a detailed update to the customer is always helpful.
Finally, always have a short script – write down the exact talking points you will mention in your demo. This helps put your thoughts and ideas on a piece of paper and practice how impactful your demo can be. While thinking about your demo script, also try to anticipate the questions from your audience. If possible, you can also address some of the questions in your demo.
Demo sessions are usually arranged toward the end of a development sprint.
Your demo should follow a predetermined structure that helps you transfer the essential information and helps the stakeholders fully understand your work.
Here is a basic demo structure with time suggestions:
- Introduction (3 minutes)
- Reflection on the previous meeting and stakeholders’ input
- Completed and outstanding tasks (present a list)
- Demonstrate new code (however much time you need)
- Talk about how the feedback translated into the code
- Demonstrate how it works
- Mention limitations and how you’re going to solve them
- If you are part of a team, provide a joint mind map at the end; it helps to put your work into a bigger picture
- Provide an estimate of how much you will work and what you will focus on for the upcoming sprint
- Q&A (2 minutes)
- You can try to anticipate some questions that the stakeholders might have and provide an answer to them. Try to write down 2-3 questions and think about them before the meeting
Tools to help you prepare for the demo
You can use many tools to help you demo your work. Here is a list of suggestions. Dedicate some time to learn how to utilise these tools to their fullest.
- Mind mapping – Mindmup, Coggle
- Presentation – MS PowerPoint, Google Slides, iOS Keynote
- Tasks overview – Jira, Google Sheets, MS Excel, iOS Numbers
- Talking points for the meeting – Google Docs, MS Word, iOS Pages
- Meeting software – Zoom, Skype, WeChat, Google Meet