Show and tells

What are they?

Show and tells are regular meetings that we run at the end of each sprint to demonstrate what we’ve been working on. They are an opportunity to get feedback, ask questions and celebrate successes.

Show and tells play an important role in raising awareness about what we’re delivering and why; they help us make the work we do more transparent and open.

A good presentation should tell a story about what you’re delivering - including why it’s important and how well it is going. It is often useful to recap some or all of the following:

  • What are the project goals?
  • Who is in the team?
  • How we work (agile, in sprints, multidisciplinary)
  • What did we achieve in the last sprint?
  • What has been the goal for this sprint? Why was this important?

A common approach is to organise the presentation into themes/sections based on the epics you’ve dealt with during the sprint. The main thing is to tell a story with a logical flow that explains how decisions were made or identified recommendations.

You can talk about challenges and things that haven’t gone so well, but be mindful of the client and the environment in which the project is. Sometimes a project retrospective can be a better place to unpick these things.

Who should be invited

They are normally open to anyone who is interested in hearing about the project. Invite anyone who you think has an interest in your project, or who may make decisions which impact it.

Other dxw colleagues are welcome to join show and tells too; add the invite to the dxw Show and Tell calendar so others can attend. If you want to join another project’s show and tell, please let the delivery lead know so that they can make arrangements if needed.

Who should present

Show and tells are a great way to build presenting skills and to showcase expertise and subject knowledge. We encourage the whole team to take part and if team members are comfortable, get them to present their work. If people don’t feel comfortable presenting then involve them in creating the slide deck.

We often work with clients as a single project team, so it can be a good idea to get the client Product Owner to co-present with you. This can help build trust with people outside the project team, and can help you raise the profile of the work.

Preparing and running your show and tell

Put in some preparation to make sure that the show and tell goes smoothly - especially if you want to share presenting duties with the wider team.

Depending on the nature of the work you’re doing, you might want to spend up to half a day preparing the presentation. This can be a good opportunity for the team to unpick some of the challenges or complexities that you’re dealing with.

However, this amount of preparation may not be required, for example, if the work is quite straightforward or if the team has been together long enough to find its rhythm.

Other preparation to do:

  • Send out invites and book a space. Include a link for those dialling in.
  • Get there early and make sure that the space is set up properly. Does the screen work and can people dial in? If you need them, dxw have microphones and cameras that you can use.
  • Make sure you can record the session - we normally record and share them via YouTube.

During your presentation make sure that you:

  • Introduce the team (get each person who’s speaking to introduce themselves, including their role)
  • Show the work (demos, videos) where possible. Seeing an actual thing is more powerful than a screenshot.
  • Leave time for questions and feedback. Capture things that people raise that you want to revisit later on.
  • Avoid jargon and explain technical terms. Your audience might not know much about the project or about how we work. It’s important to provide your audience with context.
  • Avoid just giving a detailed itemised list of everything that’s happened in the last 2 weeks.
  • Check in with remote participants to ensure that they can hear and are able to follow the discussion.

Examples of show and tells