A number of people have asked for suggestions/best practices on how to establish Great Demo! skills improvements for individuals and within teams – here are a few recommendations:
First of all, implementing change can take a lot of discipline – setting habits and routines to reinforce the learnings and skills is a key step. Individuals need to commit to try the new ideas and practice the skills; team managers can help be setting clear, attainable and measurable goals – and by establishing an “enabling” environment. Similarly, managers need to know how to coach to the skills.
Many managers use a portion of their regular team calls to have one or two individuals present a demo (typically over the web) to the rest of the group, followed by feedback, guided by the manager ("What did he do well; what could he have done better or differently?"). 15-20 minutes per demo should be sufficient (including feedback) when practicing Great Demo! format. Doing one or two demos each call enables people to learn from one another, and make changes and improvements for their next iteration.
For these sessions, I typically suggest that team members choose either an upcoming demo they are preparing or a demo just recently delivered. The advantage of this is that everyone is able to see the other team members' demos; a disadvantage is that it can take a good number of team calls to cycle everyone through...
Alternatives to this include:
- "Demo Days": A meeting specifically dedicated to demo delivery and feedback. Sessions might range from a couple of hours to the better part of a day. The idea is to have everyone on the team present a demo – contemplate 15-20 minutes for each person (demo plus feedback), using Great Demo! format.
- Demo Pairs: In this approach you pair people together once a week (or on some other regular cadence) to have them present demos to one another, followed by feedback. This approach makes it comparatively easy to schedule, as each pair can find times that work for them. Rotate the pairings so that all team members eventually see one another’s demos. Everyone gets a lot of practice with this plan, but only one person sees anyone else’s demo at a time (slower cross-fertilization than the first few suggestions).
- Recordings and Ride-Alongs (I propose calling a ride-along done over the web a “Web-Along…”): For demos presented over WebEx, GoToMeeting or similar tools, team members can record their demos to be reviewed later on (by themselves, other team members, managers, etc.). Refract.tv (check ‘em out) offer a terrific tool that supports this nicely (and Great Demo!, specifically)!