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Build a Solution and Demonstrate Your Work

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Find guidance to help you build your solution.
  • Follow best practices for creating a demo.
  • Outline your story.
  • Present your demo and tell your story.

Creating a Demo

After you define your user stories and write your business case, it’s time to start building. This can seem daunting, especially if it’s your first time working without detailed steps to follow along with in a Trailhead project. Don’t panic. Whatever you are trying to create, you can be sure that someone has already done something similar. Trailhead covers a huge amount of Salesforce configuration, customization, and development, so make that your first port of call. Learn all of the skills encompassed by your solution so that you can build and talk about it with confidence. Before creating your demo, check out these two Trailhead modules: Demo Storytelling and Demo Delivery Essentials.

There are tons of great resources to help you if you get stuck or need inspiration. Reach out to the Trailblazer Community on the Answers site, Developer Forums, or Salesforce Stack Exchange. Recorded sessions from Dreamforce and TrailheaDX events are another great resource for extending standard functionality and creating custom applications—in ways that might surprise you! Visit the links in the resources section to access these resources.

We recommend that you create your application in a Salesforce Developer Edition rather than a Trailhead playground. There isn’t much difference between these two org types—they are both free and have a wide range of licenses that let you experiment with different features. Because many modules and projects require you to change settings to complete work, a Trailhead playground could include settings or customizations you’re not intending to use for your demo. So, sign up for a free Developer Edition. Note that in a Developer Edition, if you want to work with Lightning components, you must first set up My Domain. (For instructions, see the User Authentication module.) Also, unlike Trailhead Playgrounds, Developer Editions do not include sample data.

After you build your application, create a demo so that you can showcase it to potential employers. When you have an opportunity to present to a specific company, research their business starting with their website. Spending some time thinking about the purpose of your demo can prevent rework later. The first thing to understand is that it may not be a single demo. You may want to have different versions depending on the company you are demonstrating to. Show the audience how your skills and experience gained through Trailhead apply to the job you want.

Make a list of the key items that you want to show. To create a natural flow and avoid jumping around in the application, group those key items by functional area or by role. For example, in the case of our Recruiting app, create two demos: one from the perspective of the hiring manager, and one from the perspective of the applicant.

Outlining a Story

When delivering a demo, you want to tell a story. The story gives the listener the opportunity to travel through your demo like it’s an adventure! Every story needs three parts.

  • Beginning: Identify what you will cover during the demo and set expectations. For example, do you want to be interrupted with questions, or take them at the end of the demo? Set out an agenda of areas you will be showing and tell your audience how long you expect the demo to last.
  • Middle: Identify the problems their business faces and how your application solves them. The bulk of your demo should take place here.
  • End: Summarize key points and highlight takeaways—what you want the audience to remember from your demo. In particular, emphasize how your app solves a specific problem and note how much time or money your solution can save.

Limit yourself to what you can talk about comfortably in the available time. If you rush or try to cover too much, you may confuse your audience. Instead of dryly listing features, explain functionality in the business context, using specific roles. For example, when you’re narrating your demo, instead of saying:

“We can open this menu and click this button to accept or reject an applicant”

say:

“As the hiring manager, I have a long list of applicants to review and select. After reviewing, I enter my decision, and the system sends the appropriate communication to each applicant.”

Your demo will resonate more strongly if you show how specific roles at the company (sales rep, manager, support agent, for example) would use the application within their normal work.

Avoid diving into minute details while telling your story. Provide enough information to make the audience curious, but leave space for them to ask you questions too. When you give a detailed response to a question, you know the details are wanted.

Practice Makes Perfect

After you create your demos, practice delivering them. Present to different people and ask for honest feedback. Record and watch your demo. Identify problem areas and improve your demo content and delivery.

Person practicing giving and recording a demo

Writing a Presentation

The presentation should support your demonstration, but you want the audience focused on you, not your slides. People can listen to what you are saying, or read something you wrote, but they can’t do both at the same time, so display as few words as possible. A useful guideline is: one bullet for each spoken paragraph.

Use pictures rather than words. The picture superiority effect makes the images on your slides more memorable than your words. Use simple pictures rather than complex images that the audience has to concentrate on to understand.

Your slides should be consistent.

  • Set a font and font size for a specific purpose (for example, Arial, 16-point text for all headings), and use it consistently.
  • Choose a color theme and use colors that complement each other.
  • Use images that go well together.

Conversely, use a variety of layouts within your theme. If all of your slides look the same, the audience may lose interest in your presentation.

Use a transition slide to signal the end of each topic or functional area. Transitions help your audience shift with you.

Finally, when you think your slide presentation is complete, go through it again and cut everything that isn’t critical to your demonstration. When in doubt, leave it out.

Now you’re ready to show off your skills to a potential employer. In the next unit you learn how to put your best foot forward.

Resources