Friday, February 17, 2012

Why I'm coming to SEPG (again) this year - Reason #4

The #4 Reason to Attend SEPGNA: To Build Stronger Relationships with Your Customers
Jeff Dalton, CMMI Lead Appraiser, CMMI Consultant, CMMI Instructor
Howdy, Partners – by the sun slanting in the Western sky, I see it’s almost time for the SEPG North America rodeo on March 12-15 in Albuquerque.  That means I better put a hitch in my giddy-up and get on with my Top 10 reasons to be there.  (Here’s Reason #10Reason #9Reason #8Reason #7Reason #6 and Reason #5.)  Ready?
Then let’s get on with my list of Top 10 Reasons to attend SEPG North America 2012.
Drum roll, please!  Reason #4 is …
To build stronger relationships with your customers.
Building relationships with the customer is important in any industry.  But it’s absolutely critical in the context of the CMMI, where we are passionate about organizational process and performance improvement, and helping companies be as great as they can be.
So let me ask you this: will you take the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers by bringing them to SEPGNA 2012?
As part of my commitment to the CMMI, I am bringing six of my customers to the conference this year.  Last year I brought five.  Here’s why I think it’s a good thing to do:
SEPGNA allows you to spend quality time with your customers.  So often in our day-to-day work, we are on-site to solve problems.  There are subgroups to be evaluated and artifacts to be collected.  But down in Albuquerque, life moves at a slower pace.  You’ll be able to connect with your customers on a personal level.  You’ll share meals together, attend sessions together, and perhaps take in a round of golf together.
SEPGNA allows you to guide your customers through the learning process.  With you by their side, customers can grasp the real meaning of the CMMI, and the long-term value the model provides.  And when questions come up, you’ll be right there to answer with real-live examples from their current projects.
SEPGNA allows you to introduce your customers to both the SEI and other adopters of the CMMI.  For me, this is one of the most rewarding experiences at the SEPGNA.  I love to see new friendships form when I introduce my customers to the smart folks from the SEI, as well as to the broader community of people with the same problems they’ve been facing.
In my opinion, all of us – both the SEI and its Partners – should strive to be people-integrators.  That means, part of our job is to integrate the customers with each other, so that they can have a support system of their own.
And you know what?  I’ve never met a customer who wasn’t excited about going.
So let’s be generous and share some knowledge.  I urge each of you to invite at least one customer to come.  Have them register – and we’ll see you in Albuquerque!
Need more reasons to go?  Check back soon for Reason #3.
Jeff Dalton is President of Broadsword Solutions Corporation and the incoming Chairman of the SEI’s Partner Advisory Board.  He is a SCAMPI Lead Appraiser whose blog can be read at  He can be reached at

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