How to Develop a Presentation

In an earlier post, I had discussed the training library that I was encouraged to develop as an Agile coach, and a reader asked if I can explain how to create a presentation, from the original idea to the final version.

Obviously the process varies considerably for each individual and often in each instance, so I’ve tried to recreate the process behind two of my older presentations for illustration.

One of the earliest presentations I developed was prompted by an experience back when I was a ScrumMaster. I had noticed a great deal of conversation and comments about metrics, both within our team and within the context of our larger conversation. I helped highlight the topic in our next team retrospective and the resulting discussion was interesting but incomplete.

With the team’s agreement, I put together an overview of what metrics were being tracked at the team and the organization level along with examples of our data and we discussed what the metrics revealed – as well as what they didn’t for us and for people who were viewing our team just from the metrics. The slides from that team discussion became the foundation for a presentation titled “Measuring Agility” which I have used in multiple instances.

Another early presentation came about because of a bit of serendipity as well. When I was living in Atlanta, I had the fortune to volunteer with the PMI Agile Forum – where I got to meet a bunch of truly awesome people and really began to feel part of the larger Agile community.

In a discussion with a fellow attendee (Hi Megan!) after a forum event, the topic eventually turned to how to do/be Agile if your current job isn’t ready for Agility yet.

We brainstormed all the ways to be Agile outside of work – keeping up with your own to-do list, managing a household on a weekly basis, keeping track of kids and chores and activities, writing a book, planning a wedding, etc.

So that eventually turned into another presentation topic called, “Agile principles for personal productivity”. Also, I’ve used individual elements of this slide deck in other training decks.

As I am writing this, I realize that this happens quite a bit: I explore topics to satisfy my own curiosity and I’ve trained myself to take notes and collect illuminating data, quotes and graphics*. Most of this material ends up in one training deck or another, sometimes in a context very different than what I had originally intended.

And sometimes a single point is relevant to multiple topics so there is quite a bit of mixing-and-matching. In fact, I now have a master file, where I simple collect interesting bits and pieces just for that purpose!

* One point I should have explicitly spelled out is to please be sure to document where you’re gathering source material from so that you can credit properly. In my experience, the Agile community is generous in sharing information but there is also a corresponding emphasis on giving credit where it is due.

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