Monday, September 16, 2013

Reason #4 to attend SEPG North America 2013

The #4 Reason to Attend SEPGNA: To spend quality time with your customers

The days are getting shorter.  The nights are getting cooler.  And the opportunity to register online for SEPG North America 2013 – the CMMI Conference – is fading fast.
Still haven’t decided to come?  Then this post is for you.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been counting down my list of Top 10 Reasons to attend SEPG North America 2013 on October 1-2 in Pittsburgh, 
PA.  Today we’ve arrived at Reason #4.

Drum roll, please!  Reason #4 is …

To spend quality time with your customers.

We all know that one secret to success in business is building strong relationships with the customer.  This is especially true in the context of the CMMI, where we are focused on helping companies learn the proper approach to the CMMI, drive Process Improvement, and be the great companies they are striving to be.

If you are a CMMI practitioner or CMMI supplier, the CMMI Conference is more than an opportunity to acquire knowledge that can help you be a better resource for your customers.  It’s a rare chance for you to spend quality time with them off-site in a dedicated learning environment.  So consider the following question as a personal challenge:

Will you take the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers by bringing them to SEPGNA 2013?

As part of my commitment to the CMMI, I always invite my customers to the Conference.  Last year, I brought six companies.  The year before, I brought five.  Here’s why I am encouraging my fellow CMMI Institute Partners, consultants and suppliers to do so, as well:

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 during the 2-day Conference in Pittsburgh, you’ll be able to connect with your customers on a personal level.  You’ll eat together, attend sessions together and – with networking events scheduled for both evenings – you’ll be able to hang out and just talk.

SEPGNA allows you to guide your customers through the learning process.  Think about it.  Would you rather have your customers try to grasp the real meaning of the CMMI on their own, or with you by their side?  Would you rather leave them in the dark about the long-term value the Model provides, or help them see the light?  Clearly, you want to be there in the sessions with them.  You want to ask them about what they are learning.  And when questions inevitably come up, you want to be right there to answer with real-live examples from their current projects.

SEPGNA allows you to introduce your customers to the leaders of the CMMI Institute, as well as 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 connect my customers to others who have overcome the same problems they’ve been facing.  Plus, this will be my first opportunity to introduce several of my customers to the smart folks from the CMMI Institute, the new sponsors of the Conference this year.

In my opinion, missing the chance to invite customers to SEPGNA would be a mistake.  You’d only get half the value.  Sure, you’ll learn plenty of strategies, tips and techniques that can make you a better CMMI consultant or CMMI supplier.  But you will have bypassed the opportunity to integrate customers with each other, so that they can have a support system of their own.  And that would be to deprive them of something extremely valuable that they can’t get anywhere else.

Besides, as I said in a previous post, Pittsburgh ROCKS!  You and your customers are going to have a blast together.  What could be better for your relationship?

So let’s be generous.  Let’s share the love.  I urge each of you to invite at least one customer to come to Pittsburgh and take part in the conversation.  And don’t forget to register here.

Need more reasons to go?  Check back soon for Reason #4.

Jeff Dalton is President of Broadsword Solutions Corporation  and Chair of the CMMI Institute’s Partner Advisory Board.  

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