Presentation Day

Today the application development team presented our documentation changes to the customer community. Murphy’s law was in full effect this morning. The development manager tried to print out a bunch of handout copies on the color printer. The thing was not working. He somehow got a black and white copy printed. A developer ran to the copy room to make black and white copies. Then a bunch of us went up to the presentation room. Another customer group was in there and said they have a standing reservation for the room. We took a hike.

So we find a replacement room. I got a lot of flack this morning because I wore my best suit and tie. I also made sure I went over my part of the presentation many times. Not knowing your material is a sure way to ensure you get real nervous during a presentation. I was impressed when our team lead started off the presentation. He had a very confident way of speaking. He appeared to actually talk with the audience. And you could tell that he knew his stuff. There were a couple concerns from the customer regarding the security for the new stuff. And some diagrams in our documentation were not clear. But the first part went pretty smoothly.

Then it came to my turn. I was glad that I had practiced what I was going to say. Like my team lead, I just used the pages of the presentation as reminders about what I wanted to say to the audience. Luckily I have spent many years on this project. So I was able to speak at length on the existing functionality, along with the changes we were proposing. I answered a couple questions on some details from the audience. When I neared the end of my part, I asked another developer to take over. He said that I was doing such a good job that I should just do his part. Luckily I had practiced his part of the presentation. I glossed over the rough parts of this guy’s documentation. There was no problem faking familiarity with that piece.

After I completed my section, I handed the mic over to our new Visual Basic developer. Initially I had thought that this guy’s piece was the easiest. But the customer community seemed to grill the poor guy. Our manager tried to jump in and save him a couple times. He just could not stay on course for his presentation. I do not think this is due to his personality. He does have a strong accent. And he does not know much about our system. Somehow the guy made it to the end of the presentation. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief. We all got a congratulatory e-mail from upper management for a job well done. I think our next customer presentation will go even better.