The Demo Police

A successful software demonstration takes a great deal of preparation, a good script for the vendors to follow, a well-planned agenda and a designated demo facilitator that isn’t afraid to be the “bad cop!” The role of the demo facilitator can be just as critical to the demo process as the demo itself. Who should police the demo and what will they do?

The demo facilitator should be someone that is involved with the project but not a stakeholder in the outcome. In other words, this person should be knowledgeable about the project without the need to be mired in the details of the demonstration (generally a project manager). The facilitator should have the ability to speak up when needed, either to ask questions or to get the vendors back on topic or on time. The role of the demo facilitator includes:

  • Being a liaison between the project manager and the vendors. The facilitator helps to keep the lines of communication open.
  • Timekeeping. To ensure the vendors have enough time to get through all the items they need to demonstrate (and to make sure that the users are seeing enough of the product that they feel comfortable with what it can do), it’s important to keep a close eye on time. Often times, it’s necessary to limit questions in order to get through each section. In a long day (or couple of days) of demos, it’s very important for the vendors and the participants to get regular breaks.
  • Note taking.The facilitator should be engaged enough to take notes paying special attention to items that are missed on the demo script.
  • Asking questions. Sometimes it’s important to ask questions (when appropriate) to help stimulate questions from the user group.
  • Helping the vendor to be successful. This simply means that you give the vendors every opportunity to represent their software fairly and in the best light possible. Hopefully you have armed the vendors with plenty of knowledge well before the demos begin; during the demos, their success is aided by reminding them of the expectations, helping them stay on task, providing ongoing feedback and being the “bad cop.”

Posted By: Cherish Cruz

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