An end-to-end demo is a visual representation of the final product or service that will be delivered and how customers will interact with it.
AND I NEED THIS... WHY?
Ever notice how architects and urban planners love to build scale models? There's a reason for that. With so many pieces to work on, the best way to confirm builders understand how each window and door figures in is to have a visual representation of the whole building.
It holds true at the office, too. It's easy to get so wrapped up in gold-plating the work we're delivering this sprint that we forget it has to fit into a larger system. For developers, that can lead to integration issues. For HR teams, it could be a new employee benefit that employees can't manage through the existing system. In any case, it means delivering a less-than-optimal solution.
We've noticed that our highest-performing teams take time at the beginning of a project to visualize the project's deliverable and how customers will interact with it – that's the end-to-end demo. Then they iterate on the demo throughout the project, get feedback and make it higher-fidelity
WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED?
This should be driven by the project's full-time owner, with the project's core team members participating in building out the demo as necessary.
If you hold regular demo sessions, your executive sponsor doesn't need to attend each one. Bring them in for the first demo or two, then only for major milestones as a the project moves along.
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Running the play
Depending on the project, your demo may take the form of sketches or diagrams, a working prototype, new functionality, or a new product. The key is to iterate on it as your project takes shape.
- UI mock-ups
Create your end-to-end demo
An end-to-end demo typically starts off as a high-level, low-tech, low-fidelity visualisation of the solution you have in mind – e.g., a diagram or sketches of UI screens on a table napkin. For an existing product or service, your demo should also reflect how your work will fit within the current experience.
As the project becomes more clearly defined, the demo matures – similar to iterative prototyping. It's critical that it shows how a user discovers the product, feature, or service, how they interact with it, and how they leave. Otherwise it's not end-to-end.
Demo your demo (30 min)
Set aside 30 minutes with the core project team, stakeholders, and your executive sponsor if you have one. It's ok to focus on what's changed since the last demo, but do walk through the full thing end-to-end so everyone stays grounded in the entire customer journey and where your project fits into the bigger picture.
If you're working on a high-profile and/or long project, consider pairing this with the Demo Trust play so you can get feedback from your leadership team when you're still in envisioning mode.
Evolve your demo
As you learn more about your problem space, get feedback from your team, and (most importantly) test with your customers, your end-to-end demo will evolve. Because you're making progress. Awesome. Consider running the Journey Mapping play as well if your project is big or tackles a really gnarly problem.
Then onward to execution mode: workflows, wireframes, snippets of working code in a prototype... whatever. If you can skip any of these steps, great. Your customer wants a working solution that meets their needs – not a demo. So go for it. The important thing is to implement something as soon as possible and iterate on it until you're ultimately ready to deliver it to your customers.
Be sure to run a full Health Monitor session or checkpoint with your team to see if you're improving.Find your Health Monitor
DEMO THE STATUS QUO
...and why the current state sucks. A screen-capture video is great for this, as you record the flow with a commentary that brings the customer's pain to life.
E.g., "The user usually comes to the site through a Google search and lands on the homepage. Then if they're lucky they'll find this link. They click it and then they get this page. They might know that what they're looking for is over here, in this group of quick links. If they find the quick link, they get this screen. They click here. They have to enter more information. They click enter. But they're still not finished, so they...." ...you get the idea.
DEMO AS EXPERIMENT
Create a demo that reflects an improved experience. Make sure it's lightweight so you can implement it quickly and immediately. If the experience doesn't improve, kill the experiment and stay with the existing solution.
Break up your end-to-end demo into multiple shippable iterations, indicating how each iteration contributes to the final product.
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