Friday, September 19, 2008

Solution Demos: Catch 22

Damned if you demo, damned if you don’t, especially if your client is new to Documentum. You can talk about functionality, show the vanilla installation of Webtop, and still get surprised looks when you show the final solution. On the flip side, you can demo the solution when it’s not fully tested and have to dance around errors and incomplete development.

Demos of a client’s project are essential if the client reads the Functional Requirements Spec and the Tech Design without too many comments. This means they don’t understand and/or don’t have enough time to review it. This can be frustrating, but if you demo the solution in front of those same future users, you’ll get invaluable feedback and will eventually have a more successful launch of the solution.

Steps to successfully demonstrate your solution:

  • Test the part of the solution that will be demo’d
  • Plan talking around any part of the solution that is not completed
  • Have an agenda of what will be shown during the demo
  • Repeat to the clients/users that this is not a finished solution, that there will be bugs
  • Try to have fun with your audience, this should not be too serious
  • Have other technical resources there to take notes and comment on questions that pertain to their customizations
  • Listen you your client’s comments and take their feedback seriously
  • Make notes of comments that could form future opportunities, like “does this mean we have to sign on to another application each time we want to access it?”. This could mean that single sign on is in the future. Or, “I already fill out this information in the database, why do I need to do this twice?” This could mean an integration possibility to ease the transition to using Documentum, not to mention make finding content easier with more integrated attributes.
  • Schedule a few demos to reduce the risk of disillusionment after an error causes one demo to fall short of expectations.
  • Try to impress the client each time by showing something extra in the product that they might not have seen.
  • Whatever you do, do not take screenshots and dummy up the solution. This will lead to more questions and anxiety over the progress of the overall solution.

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