In a previous post I gave out some software demo tips for vendors. Since then I have participated in another round of software demos and this time I have some tips for all you customers out there. Yes, you read that correctly. Customers also needs some tips to get the most out of software demos.
- Create “killer” scenarios ahead of time and send them to the vendor (ahead of time, like way ahead of time so the poor vendor can be prepared). Don’t know what a killer scenario is? Head over to Naomi Bloom’s blog here, here and here to educate yourself.
- Assign an owner for each scenario. When questions arise during the demo about the scenario, the owner should be prepared to answer that question.
- Bring all participants for the demo to the same city, same building and same conference room.
- If you ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY can’t have everyone in the same room (are you sure you really can’t get everyone in the same room?) then make sure you get a conference room with a conference phone with enough microphones so the remote participants can hear the presenter and any questions from the audience.
- Speaking of conference rooms, make sure you get a large enough conference room that everyone has a seat near a microphone.
- If the demo starts at 9am, make sure the vendor shows up at least 15 minutes early and that you, the customer, have the room ready for the demo. By ready I mean, network connectivity for the vendor’s computers are ready, projector is powered on and warmed up. Otherwise the demo is likely start very late.
- If you have remote participants, DON’T PUT THE CONFERENCE PHONE NEXT TO THE FAN ON THE PROJECTOR. I’m sure you can figure out the issue with this one without me having to spell it out for you.
- Make sure you only have 1 version (1 truth) of your scenarios and fit/gap documents. Use version control and backup copies of your documents to ensure you know who updated the documents. Do not let the vendor take ownership of your documents and massage them to meet their needs for the demo or suddenly you will find yourself not on the same page (literally) with the Vendor during the demo.
- Match the content of the demo with the participants. If the demo is to show you the GL interface for Payroll you don’t need the head of HR but you do need your Payroll accounting folks.
- Put away the Blackberry and pay attention to the demo. I know this one is really hard for some of you but you will surprised how much more you get out of the demo when you give it your FULL attention.
Okay, that’s my list off the top of my head. What did I forget?