Agile Steps to Impress Your Client with Killer Demos!


By Brian Vanderjack, PMP®, MBA


Charles Sprague, MSM, ABD 


As I was learning the fine art of being an IT (Information Technology) Scrum Master, one of the ceremonies that most intrigued me, as a professional speaker on Agile topics, was the Agile Demo.  The “Demo” is an Agile ceremony (a non-agile person would refer to a ceremony as a “meeting”) where the Scrum Team presents their work to the Product Owner (business representative), and asks for approval.  I would get myself invited to various Demos, as an observer at my day-time-IT-job, and what I would sometimes witness was an embarrassing break in the flow of the Demo.

What I sometimes saw were presenters who did not know exactly how they were going to present their work products to the Product Owner.  They would then spend a few minutes, during the time slotted for the Demo, discussing (in front of the Product Owner) the best way to demonstrate something.  Then, they would try the newly identified method, and see if it worked; on the fly.  To me this behavior is an image destroyer and can be most definitely avoided.  The bottom line is the Product Owner likely can impact who is on the Scrum Team, and who leads it, based on their perception of the individuals during these types of ceremonies!

As the Product Owner typically is the stakeholder who has control over funding, one would do well to manage Product Owner perceptions.  The reality is a Product Owner can’t help but judge team effectiveness, based on Demos.  To explain, Demos are when the Product Owner first views the work product, and determines if the current team can be trusted to be successful.  Therefore Demos are a great time for a Scrum Master to show off their Scrum Team as being highly capable, organized, and hungry for victories.  This is the time for the Scrum Team to “show up” and shape the image of the team with the Product Owner. That is, it is well worth investing some time planning for, and managing the presentation of your Demos.  My recommendation is to use the same care as you would plan out your iterations or releases.  By doing this you can seize a great opportunity, to grow the Product Owner’s positive impression, and more importantly the ongoing support, of the Product Owner.

After adding Chuck Sprague to my team as a partner, the idea of improving Demos really began to take shape.  The outcome of our efforts is found below.  Our hope is to make adopting and working in an Agile framework just that much easier.  Please note the words here are intended for Scrum Masters.  They represent opinions, and in no way represent the processes or policies of any company. The information here is presented as use-at-your-own-risk.   Finally, the information below is based on an assumption that the reader has a fundamental understanding of Agile Scrum. 


To read entire article (click here)

About the Authors 

flag-usabrian-vanderjackBrian Vanderjack

AT&T Mobility/Home Solutions

Illinois, USA

Brian is blessed to have a wonderful wife, named Terri, and two sons Matt & Marc. Matt, just finished his criminal justice degree at Western Illinois University®.  Matt composes music, on his PC, in his free time.  Marc, our English major at Illinois State University®, is currently away studying in England.  We also have a long haired Wheaton Terrier (Finley) who regularly awakens us at 4 AM because he is board and wants to play outside. Brian’s passion is providing people the skills they need to be better at delivering what their employers need.  And, by being even more valuable, the expectation is they will provide longer service to their home organization.

Brian is honored to have been: appointed Scum Master at AT&T®* for the award winning MyCSP App, point of sale information support application (top-ten design award, worldwide, by the Neilson Norman Group® 2013), MBA with distinction (DePaul®), faculty of the year (University of Phoenix®), Excellence in Project Management Award (AT&T®), and often published (in PMWorldToday® & PMWorldJournal®).

Brian has taught PMP® certification classes for DeVry®/Becker® and AT&T®, he has also taught Agile at AT&T® and for the PMI® Chicago land chapter (Professional Development Day). He also teaches Project Management for the University of California – Irvine®, and University of Phoenix®.  Brian has taught or spoken at many other venues like Microsoft® and Northwestern Kellogg Graduate School of Business®.  He has provided seminars & keynotes on leadership at AT&T®, Toastmasters®, several PMI® chapters, and Abbott Labs®. 

For further background about how Brian continues to drive toward fulfilling his mission, find his 44 written recommendation and hundreds of “referrals” on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/brianvanderjack/ .  Brian offers face-to-face PMP certification training on Saturdays. If your organization, or PMI® Chapter, is interested, reach out to Brian at [email protected] (no-pass = tuition refund, but conditions apply). 

*Note: For the above, endorsement by identified organizations is not implied or to be inferred, their trademarks and brands remain their own.  As Brian is full time employee of AT&T, the following is required per AT&T corporate policy: Information provided in this BIO and the related article in no way represents AT&T, nor its processes. Due to a non-compete agreement, services can’t be provided to organizations that compete with AT&T. 

flag-usapmwj17-dec2013-vanderjack-sprague-IMAGE2 SPRAGUECharles Sprague


Charles Sprague is currently Principal/Owner at Strategic People Leadership, a Human Resources and Leadership Development company located in the Chicagoland area. He has personally provided training in conflict management, power and influence for universities, PMI, and companies like IBM and AT&T.

Strategic People Leadership is a full service human resources company that provides compliance, team development, leadership development and coaching, human resources assessment tools, strategic human resource counseling and planning, compensation and benefits, and other services customize to a client’s business and budget. Strategic People Leadership has access to over 50 professionals with a variety of expertise and has over 100 years of training and development, organizational development and change and human resource management experience.

He is also Chairman of the Board for New Life Transitions, a non-profit organization that provides counseling, life, vocational, and spiritual services to ex-incarcerated and displaced individuals.

Charles Sprague is affiliated with University of Phoenix as a Lead Faculty/Area Chair in Management. He teaches courses on organizational development, strategy, critical thinking, performance management, ethics as well as conflict and negotiations. Overall he has taught at the university level for over 20 years and has over 25 years of expertise in organizational development, training, and human resources. Charles can be contacted at [email protected]