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The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Demos and How to Run yours Perfectly

By 
Max Gayler
 on 
December 19, 2023
Remote Works

If you're looking to make your sprint demos smoother and more productive, you've come to the right place.

Sprint demos are crucial in the Agile world, but let's be honest, they can sometimes be a bit of a headache. Whether it's aligning everyone's schedules or making sure you’re showing off your team's hard work effectively, there's a lot to think about.

But don't worry, we've got you covered with some tips and tricks to make your sprint demos something you and your team can look forward to.

What is a Sprint Demo?

Let’s start with the basics just so we’re all aligned. A sprint demo, often referred to as a sprint review, is an essential ritual in the Agile and Scrum methodologies. But what exactly is it?

Picture this: after a period of intense work (normally about 2 weeks), known as a sprint, the team gathers around, not just to breathe a sigh of relief, but to showcase the fruits of their labor. It's like the grand finale at the end of a thrilling performance, where the team steps into the spotlight to present their achievements.

In these meetings, the team isn’t just ticking boxes off a checklist; they are bringing to life the progress they've made. This could include anything from a shiny new feature, a bug that's been squashed, or improvements that enhance user experience. It's about transforming the abstract - lines of code, design mockups, and strategy discussions - into something tangible and demonstrable.

When Do I Use Sprint Demos?

Showcasing Completed Work

The primary use of a sprint demo is to present the work completed during the sprint. This often includes new features, bug fixes, and other improvements. The team demonstrates what they have built, providing a tangible demonstration of their progress and the value they have delivered.

Gathering Feedback

Sprint demos provide an opportunity to gather feedback from stakeholders, including product owners, customers, and other team members. This feedback is crucial for ensuring that the product meets the users' needs and for guiding future development efforts. It allows for early detection of any misunderstandings or misalignments with the project goals.

Fostering Collaboration

These demos encourage collaboration between the development team and stakeholders. By discussing the product and its development openly, it fosters a shared understanding and helps in aligning everyone's expectations and priorities. It also helps in breaking down silos between different departments or teams.

If a part of your development team spots a bug or possible roadblock, it’s worth your while to get everyone’s heads together so you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Assessing Progress and Planning

Sprint demos help in assessing the progress of the project against its roadmap and objectives. They provide a clear picture of where the project currently stands, which assists in future sprint planning. This includes identifying any potential roadblocks, adjusting timelines, and prioritizing upcoming work based on the feedback and the current state of the project.

How Should I Conduct a Sprint Demo?

As a Team

When conducting a sprint demo as a team, it's all about collaboration and clear communication. 

Each team member should be prepared to discuss their contributions. This unified approach helps in presenting a cohesive story of the sprint's progress, ensuring that all aspects of the work are covered and understood.

Alone

If you’re conducting a sprint demo alone, preparation and clarity are key. You’ll need to be well-versed in all areas of the sprint's work, ready to answer questions, and able to provide a comprehensive overview. Your presentation should be engaging and informative, serving as a bridge between the team's work and the stakeholders' understanding.

In Real-Time

Conducting a demo in real-time requires adaptability and engagement. You need to be prepared to field live feedback and questions, making the session interactive. This approach keeps stakeholders engaged and allows for immediate clarification and discussion, making the demo a dynamic exchange of ideas.

It’s an industry best practice to record your sprint demos. That way anyone can catch up later, rewatch parts they forgot, or, if you use Claap, read the transcript or access an AI-generated summary to just read the important bits.

Asynchronously

For asynchronous demos, clarity and precision are vital. Since you’re not presenting live, your recorded content needs to be concise, clear, and comprehensive. Ensure that your recordings are accessible and easy to follow, providing all necessary information in a format that viewers can digest at their own pace.

The first step to this, is deciding on a tool to record your sprint demo asynchronously. You might not be surprised to know we really recommend Claap. It’s free to get started and allows you to immediately record high quality screen captures that can be instantly sent to your team, sent to Slack, or stored in Notion.

The Top 3 Reasons to Not Have a Sprint Demo

While sprint demos are an integral part of the Agile process, there are situations where conducting a traditional sprint demo might not be the best approach. In such cases, alternative meeting formats can be more effective.

1. Limited Progress to Show

If a sprint results in limited progress or the work is too technical and backend-focused to present effectively in a demo, it might be better to opt for a different type of meeting. In such cases, a detailed status meeting could be more appropriate. This meeting can focus on discussing challenges, technical details, and planning solutions, rather than trying to force a demo with little to show.

2. Stakeholder Unavailability

When key stakeholders or decision-makers are unavailable, a sprint demo might not achieve its primary goal of gathering feedback and making decisions. Instead, consider scheduling a focused review meeting when stakeholders are available. This ensures that valuable feedback is not missed and decisions can be made with all necessary parties present.

3. Overlapping or Redundant Demos

In some instances, especially in organizations where multiple teams are working on interrelated projects, sprint demos can become overlapping or redundant. To avoid this, combining efforts into a joint review session can be more efficient. This approach allows for a broader overview of the project's progress, encourages cross-team collaboration, and streamlines communication.

If you suffer from meeting fatigue it might be time to look into reducing your number of meetings. It’s easier than you’d think if you just follow our guide.

The 6 Steps to Running Amazing Sprint Demos

Conducting effective sprint demos requires careful planning and execution. Here are six steps to ensure your sprint demos are engaging, informative, and productive:

1. Preparing Properly

Preparation is the cornerstone of a successful sprint demo. This involves not only ensuring that the work to be demonstrated is ready but also preparing the presentation itself. Make sure all necessary materials, such as slides, are clear and concise. Additionally, rehearse the demo to ensure a smooth delivery.

If you feel like your team is too busy to all be free at the same time, you could even make your sprint demo asynchronous? Record your screen and explain what happened this sprint. It takes 5 minutes to record and just as long to watch. 

2. Setting a Clear Agenda

A clear agenda helps in managing time efficiently and ensures that all important aspects of the work are covered. Distribute the agenda before the meeting so that participants know what to expect and can prepare their questions or comments accordingly.

3. Involving the Right People

Make sure all key stakeholders are involved in the demo. This includes members of the development team who worked on the sprint, product owners, and any other stakeholders whose input is valuable. Their involvement ensures diverse feedback and comprehensive understanding.

4. Focusing on Value

During the demo, focus on the value delivered by the work completed. Highlight how the features or improvements impact the end-users or contribute to the project’s objectives. This keeps the discussion centered around the product’s value proposition.

The point of sprints and the agile methodology is to improve every single time.

5. Encouraging Interaction

A sprint demo should be interactive. Encourage questions and discussions from stakeholders. This not only provides valuable feedback but also fosters a sense of collaboration and shared ownership of the project.

6. Documenting and Following Up

Finally, document the feedback and discussions that occur during the sprint demo. This information is crucial for making informed decisions in the next sprint. After the demo, follow up on the action items and feedback to ensure that they are addressed in future work.

Not to be a broken record, but Claap’s really good when it comes to storing, sharing, and collaborating on your meeting recordings. 

Turn Your Sprint Demos into Irreplaceable Knowledge for Your Team with Claap

Sprint demos are more than just meetings; they are goldmines of insights and learning opportunities. To elevate their value, integrating a tool like Claap can transform these sessions into a rich repository of knowledge for your team. Here's how Claap can help:

Capturing Every Detail

Claap allows you to record your sprint demos, ensuring that every discussion, decision, and piece of feedback is captured. Unlike traditional note-taking, these recordings provide a comprehensive and accurate account of the meeting, preserving the nuances and context often lost in written summaries.

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