Demo time – How to stay up to date with 10+ teams

[This post first appeared in German.]

At sipgate, we’re more than 10 teams that work (more or less) independently of each other. Each team is self-organizing. Together we deliver more than 20 updates of our services to our customers. That makes it hard to stay up to date with all improvements. That’s why the Scrum-prescribed „Review-Meeting“ evolved into a synchronisation meeting for us. During the “demo” we update each other and reach a shared understanding of where we are.

Stefan demoing (Credit: sipgate / Oliver Tjaden)

Every second Thursday we meet at 3pm. Representatives from each team take turns presenting their results. Results = stuff customers can do, that they couldn’t do 2 weeks prior. The teams get to bask in applause for their successes. Just don’t dare show work in progress that’s not live yet! The demo is reserved for things that customers already benefit from. “99% done” doesn’t cut. It’s not of value yet and not worth mentioning.

Logistically the turn taking is easy-peasy, thanks to Google Slides. Whoever first feels like creating slides on the morning of demo day copies last demo’s slide deck and shares the link with everyone else. Then it’s on: massively parallel slide editing with up to 20 people creating slides at the same time.

Come 3pm we all gather and walk our way through the slide deck. The representatives come to the front and present their part. Teams get gold stars for live demos of new features 🙂 BTW, the representatives are not fixed. They change from demo to demo.

The latest beautiful trend is that teams working on the same product have banded together to present in one go for their shared product instead of presenting team-based.

It takes 10 to 15 people 30 minutes or less to present. That’s all we need to update each other about the latest changes in our products.

PS: The demo is one of the “24 Work Hacks” in our book of the same name that is also available in English.

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2 Comments Demo time – How to stay up to date with 10+ teams

  1. Michele

    Hi Corinna, does this shared review require that all the teams’ iterations are synchronised? Or do teams just present “wherever they’re up to” at the time of the review. I know of plenty of places who do this but they’re all mandating eg: 2 week sprints on the same cycle (following a LeSS or SAFe paradigm) so I was curious if you were doing a shared review without that.
    Thank you!

    1. Corinna Baldauf

      Hi Michele!
      Yes and no.

      Yes, most teams do 2 week sprints. Some do weekly ones. Some do Kanban with retrospectives every 2 weeks.

      No, sprint length isn’t mandated. But I’d like to see a team try to do 3 week sprints. I think everybody else would be like “What kind of super special snowflakes do you think you are? 3 week sprints *snort* … Want some help cutting extra fluff from your stories?”

      And no, it’s not necessary to be in sync. We continuously deliver anyway. I guess, out-of-sync team would have a little harder time to track what has gone live and should be presented, though.

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