tl;dr: Add demos to a
#demo-friday channel in Slack or Teams.
Every person is a fickle rocket. Some weeks we shoot off to space, others we sputter. On really bad days, we explode right there on the launchpad.
Organizations herd rockets with meetings and other channels, but fail for myriad reasons: incorrect estimations, loss of motivation, impossible architecture, misconstrued communications, etc. To prevent these perils, demonstrate deliverables on a concrete cadence (Fridays work well).
- Demos prevent derailment.
- Demos highlight invisible work.
- Demos force prioritization.
- Demos improve estimations.
- Demos engage.
- Demos create questions.
- Demos create paper trails.
- Demos are self-documenting.
- Demos maintain momentum.
1. Demos prevent derailment.
Without feedback, creative workers risk building The Wrong Thing™. Regular demos force course-corrections. Designers, managers, analysts, spreadsheet jockeys, engineers, etc. can ensure their pieces match the larger puzzle.
2. Demos highlight invisible work.
Crucial infrastructure goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Friday demos shine spotlights on thankless work. Create space for you and your coworkers to boast.
Demo days work especially well when everybody shares every Friday. When sharing as a community, there is nowhere to hide and no reason to be embarassed. Collective repetition makes mundane those scary feats!
3. Demos force prioritization.
It’s natural to lose oneself in numbers; we forget that we make things for humans. Demonstrations rescue us from rabbit-holes.
Good demos showcase utility. To impress others, make something valuable.
Demos encourage progress towards useful deliverables. And in most creative fields, useful output keeps the coffers full.
4. Demos improve estimations.
For every project, the first 90% is easier than the remaining 90%. People grossly miscalculate the difficulty of completing tasks. As more variables are introduced into a system, they grow harder to tame collectively.
Demos force us to make educated guesses from clear checkpoints. Unfounded optimism vanishes when reality is at your doorstep.
5. Demos engage.
Daily syncs become background noise. Without visual evidence, details are often miscommunicated and ultimately ignored. A picture is better than a description of a picture.
Tangible progress tickles the senses. Don’t expect others to give their attention if you disrespect their thirst for novelty.
6. Demos create questions.
Seeing somebody’s work engages the brain. “What is this spreadsheet for?” “Why is that button there?” “Who approved that colorscheme?” “Why are those numbers going down?” Don’t lose your team in hypotheticals; incite constructive dialogue with examples.
A lack of progress can also unearth critical questions. “What prevented you from doing your best work?” “What’s holding you back?” “Who do you need help from?” “Where is the friction coming from?”
7. Demos create paper trails.
Synchronous demos can be disastrous. Most people aren’t practiced presenters – they fumble in live settings. And questions from the audience can throw plans wildly off the rails.
Instead, add a
#demo-friday channel to Slack or Teams. All creative workers
should demonstrate their work, regardless of the magnitude of progress.
As a bonus, performance reviews become as simple as scrolling through your demo history. “Did you deliver value?” “Yeah, and here are the receipts.”
8. Demos are self-documenting.
Every demonstration is 50% proof, 50% instruction-guide.
Showing somebody that something can be done is the same as showing them how to do it.
9. Demos maintain momentum.
People lose motivation without concrete deliverables. Put recurring demos on your calendar to synthesize accomplishment.
By sharing demos on Friday, everybody gets a free checkpoint. Having thoroughly completed work, one can enjoy the weekend without unfinished business.