Demo Culture

February 16, 2024 Engineering

Good engineers ship. That's no big secret. Shipping is, after all, one of the very core pillars of the engineering culture and celebrated a lot.

But have you ever noticed that great engineers ship all the time? They ship, even if the product is not updating. They ship by sharing quick demos and building excitement and urgency by sharing their prototypes with other engineers. I started to refer to this as "demo culture" and it's something you see to great extend in high performing teams.

Demo culture is the practice of regularly sharing quick demos to build hype and validate ideas in the cheapest possible way. It's a way of showing off your work and getting feedback from your team and stakeholders without all the red tape. It's a way to make every team more engineering driven.

So how can you start building a demo culture in your team? Here are a few tips:

  1. Share early and often. Someone needs to start setting an example. If you can hack something together 30. The more brittle, the better, so others understand that there's no need for quality.
  2. Make it fun. Demos should be engaging and exciting. I like to create little stories of potential use cases to lighten the mood.
  3. Keep it short and sweet. Demos should be quick and to the point. If it's over 2 minutes, it's probably too long. Make sure your audience has your attention and make it easy for them to consume the information.
  4. Encourage and provide feedback. After your demo, ask for feedback and suggestions. This will help you improve your work and make sure you're on the right track. Similarly, if someone else gives a demo, make sure to share your thought. And do not forget to show them how excited you are about the demo. 🔥

So, the next time your meeting ends 5 minutes early, just share your screen and say "hey I have a quick demo to show you" and start a transformation in your team.


Other Notes

June 13, 2024
Engineering/The 50-50 Goal
May 17, 2024
May 2, 2024
April 3, 2024
Engineering/Infrastructure/Deploy Workers Programatically
April 2, 2024
March 7, 2024
Engineering/Feature Flags
February 21, 2024
Engineering/Demo Culture
February 16, 2024
February 1, 2024
Engineering/ML/Embeddings
May 5, 2023
Engineering/ML/Jaccard Similarity
May 4, 2023
May 2, 2023
Engineering/Front-End/Modern Front-End Problems
November 3, 2022
Engineering/Test Matrixes
February 25, 2022
February 25, 2022
Engineering/Front-End/React’s Escape Hatch
February 21, 2022
Other/Notes
January 1, 2022

About the author

Philipp Spiess
Philipp Spiess [ˈʃpiːs]

Engineer at Sourcegraph.
Prev: UI Engineer at Meta, curator of This Week in React, React DOM team member, and Team Lead at PSPDFKit.