Now that your solution is complete, perhaps you’d like to schedule a meeting to present your solution to your stakeholders. Here are some suggestions to make your demo a success.
Note that even if you’re just going to hold an informal meeting with a couple of people, preparing in this way will serve you — and your solution — well.
Ensure that relevant management attends the meeting, not just your end users.
Make an elevator pitch
Reread your problem statement and your vision statement. Use them to create a two-sentence elevator pitch describing the problem your business faces and the way your solution addresses it.
Tell the most important user story
Choose the user story that illustrates your key functionality. Set the stage for the audience by telling them who you are pretending to be:
Let's say that right now I'm Ben Escovedo — you know, on the sales team. I'm on the phone with my key customer at Griffon University. They're excited about forming a partnership with us. This is how I document my conversation with them.
Demonstrate your solution by walking through the functionality for that user story — and nothing else. Don't be tempted to show off all the features for their own sake (no matter how exciting you think they are), just share how your solution meets the needs of a specific user.
Pitch to the manager & executives
If your solution improves reporting or accountability, share some reports that show your solution to its best advantage. Executives want to know whether the system will give them the results they need.
Don’t generate the reports live — that’s risky. Just include them in your presentation at the right moment with a clear message about the problem they solve.
Rehearse with a partner
Share your presentation with someone you trust who listens well and without judgment. Take your time to relax before you speak, and make friendly eye contact while speaking. Ask your partner to stop you any time you speak without making eye contact. If you need to refer to notes, take a moment to look at them, but then return to making eye contact before speaking again. Keep in mind that this is a personal story you're telling: it's a story about something you created.
Keep it short
The above content should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes. Time your presentation and practice it until you can give consistently in 7 minutes or less, without referring to notes.
Welcome questions and suggestions
Schedule another 20 minutes or more for people’s questions. Try to anticipate the most likely questions and have concise answers prepared.
Have someone take notes
Ask someone who you know will document questions and action items clearly and objectively.
Follow-up with an email
Send a followup email when the meeting is done. Include the following points:
- Thank everyone for attending
- List any questions that didn’t get answered and commit to when you’ll address them
- List any other action items, again with your best sense of delivery date
- Provide your training and go-live dates, if known