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Meme #33

Show me, not tell me

What does it mean?

Can you ever recall being promised something, only to realise after a lengthy period of anticipation and excitement, that what has been delivered falls well short of your expectations?

We believe that it is essential to avoid such surprises by adopting an iterative approach where we bring stakeholders on a journey through frequent demos of working software. This has a significant benefit over, traditional big bang Waterfall releases in that it enables the business to shape and obtain the outcomes they were looking for.

Why do we believe it’s important?

Not so long ago, software development would go through a significantly lengthy period of development before the business saw the end product, typically towards the end of the project, and often far from their end goal.

In contrast, bringing an idea or product to life on a sprint basis enables us to gain better adoption from the businesses we work with whilst ensuring a common understanding of the product and where it is going - that is, we seek validated learnings from intended users (be they the business or customers). As such we adopt an agile approach and promote regular communication and visibility through frequent demos of working software which, compared to reading lengthy requirement documents, is far more tangible and ensures all stakeholders are fully engaged. This constant feedback loop offers flexibility to change priority and ensures the product is always closely aligned with our client’s vision whilst maximising business value.

How do we put it into practice?

Frequent demos require far more client engagement compared to traditional methods, and therefore our first priority is to show that having these regular session are a valuable use of time. If necessary, to build confidence in this approach, we start with a quick 8-12 week proof of concept where we build a simple User Experience across different themes. For example, for a large global entertainment company we demonstrated functionality in areas from compliance to customer identification to marketing, showing working software aligned with the client’s vision whilst also building confidence across multiple departments in the business. The initial proof of concept often further emphasises the value of demonstrating working software early on as our clients frequently change their priority from when we first start.

Once onboard with the approach, we work with our client to deliver a Minimum Viable Solution, through which we show each feature to the product owner as these are delivered. At the end of each sprint, we organise demonstrations with multiple stakeholders and departments in the business, during which they can provide feedback which the product owner can then prioritise based on value. This is the heartbeat of our delivery and allows the product owner to take pride in knowing their direction was integral to shaping the final product.

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