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I'm an undergraduate student studying computer science. I have been working at a company as a student researcher and next week I am to demo my complete project to my boss and the other developers. It is the most complex and largest program I have developed.

My questions are: What is the most effective way to demo? Are there any good articles concerning this issue? What are key points to show? How do you do demo?

I began this project before I knew much of TDD so it was not developed this way. Most of my testing/validation was done as I wrote the program with print statements and myself just verifying results. I will want to prove the program works and based on my testing it is bug free. My only proof really is it does what it should do... This is a little disconcerting for me.

Any question answers, comments, suggestions, links and all else greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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In your presentation I'd suggest you expand on some of what you say in your question. How you would improve on what you have done, what you learned. At least a part of your presentation should deal with this. –  Kevin D Jun 9 '11 at 16:51

3 Answers 3

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The exact characteristics of the demonstration depend on the nature of the project and who you are demonstrating to. Since this is to your team, I would ask around to see if there's anything in particular that is expected of you, in terms of what to show or what to discuss. Depending on the situation, you might be asked to focus on the design and implementation details to enlighten everyone else on how to continue building the system or you might be asked to talk about the user-facing components to show how much functionality you have been able to accomplish.

The nature of the demonstration will determine if you are going to need a slide deck prior to the demonstration and what kinds of content to show. In a technical presentation, focus on the design, implementation problems, solutions to those problems, and what the current state of implementation is. In a business presentation, you are going to need to show value-added by your work, in other words, show that you completed at least parts of your mission and how doing so is adding value to the organization.

In a demonstration, I would consider actually working through the demonstration and performing screen captures prior to the presentation. This will prevent the infamous problem of exposing errors during a demonstration. In addition, you can focus on talking through what your system is doing when the video is playing, instead of splitting your time between using the system and discussing it.

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You should lay great stress on the benefits the app brings to the business, which will be all your boss will care about. Don't demonstrate every little feature, just say "before I wrote this we couldn't do X, but now we can, and here's how", and then demo doing X in as short a time as possible - developers get particularly antsy when sitting through another developer's demo. And don't use Powerpoint.

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"And don't use PowerPoint"? Please why did you say this? –  tunmise fasipe Jul 20 '12 at 18:17

There are two main factors for content of a demo:

  1. What the program does (You need to show how the program is used and what type of results it produces. Make sure you have some examples that you are have already tested that illustrate the programs abilities).

  2. The Audience (Is this an executive that you need to just have a 10 minute demonstration or is this a possible user who will want to see things at a much lower level? Make sure your examples and pace match the expectations of the audience. Be prepared to go off track when needed if you see what you prepared does not match exactly what is expected).

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