Why rules for Tech Demos?


Emily Bache has blogged about the new rules for Tech Demos at XP2012.

I like to give you some background why we came up with the rules.

BTW: These rules and recommendations apply to both tech demos and technical tutorials.

The presenter is not allowed to touch the keyboard.

A wild guess: You want to look good at the demo, right?

At another major conference a well-respected agile guy started off an onstage coder’s dojo as the first person at the keyboard. He had every intention to yield to the audience but got stuck on some startup issues. While he was struggling with the demo devil, no one narrated what was happening and kept the audience on track. Worse some people who were really interested in hiring the presenter entered the room and saw only someone struggling. It was a big loss both to the presenter, the audience and the presenter’s potential clients.

Hands-on technical sessions require a written well-prepared lab instruction

I was attending a paid technical tutorial a few years ago at XP20xx. The presenter had written articles and even a book on his topic. But he had not really prepared his highly technical hands-on tutorial with certain popular open source agile tools. Nothing was working even on his own machine. I was supposed to do the hands-on exercises with a Swedish guy with some university teaching background. He reflected that he would have been toast if he would ever attempt to run a lab exercise with students without a written well-prepared lab instruction. I think we can benefit from that best practice at XP2012 and other conferences.