Saturday, November 23, 2019

What a Perfect Demo Pathway is NOT… (A Perfect Demo Environment Revisited)

I see demo after demo where the presenter produces a list of items (on a dashboard, from a search, etc.) and starts to drill-down to explore an item on that list – but the chosen item isn’t a logical choice, confusing the audience and impairing the flow of the demo.

For example, a recent demo showed a list of outstanding accounts receivable items.  The presenter selected number 17 from the list of 60.  Why?

  • It wasn’t the first item on the list;
  • It wasn’t the largest amount owed;
  • It wasn’t the item with the longest overdue date.

It just didn’t make sense…

It was likely chosen because:

  1. “It works” – in other words, the presenter knows that this item will yield data that is complete and will work within the flow of the demo…  or
  2. It was completely random – the presenter didn’t care which item to select and randomly picked one…  or
  3. It was the item the presenter had seen used by the person who taught him/her the demo…. or?

In any case, the audience is going to be confused.  They are wondering:

  • “Why didn’t you just start with the first item on the list?”  or
  • “Why didn’t you take the largest item or the one with the longest overdue date?”  or
  • “At least offer some reasonable logic for your choice, because otherwise it just makes no sense…!”

The end result is a failure to “suspend disbelief” – a failure to make the demo appear realistic – and correspondingly, it is a failure to build a vision in the customer’s minds that they can use the software themselves.

It would be like fire-fighters arriving at a burning house and, instead of addressing the main blaze, they randomly choose a neighboring house (which is not burning) and start hosing it down.  It just makes no sense…!


Choose items that a real user would logically select in their day-to-day work.

This also means that preparation of the demo data needs to support this as well, which means that the list of items needs to include items that would logically be addressed – and in a logical order.  The work-list and the work-list items need to be realistic and rational.

That’s how this ties back to a Perfect Demo Environment!

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