5 Lessons Learned in Promoting the Certified ScrumMaster Course in Cebu

I am very much eager to share it with you! Why? It’s because the lessons learned was something to be reflected upon. I was immersed in a 3-day course last March 27-29 at the Watefront Hotel here in Cebu. The course is the Certified ScrumMaster Training from ScrumAlliance.org.

I was initially aware of this course while looking up what agile was. By then, I also learned that my mentor – Ms. Janette Toral was also a Certified ScrumMaster. It led  me to inquire about the course and with that, learned that Codelean was only offering it in Manila. I was down-trodden as I could not easily travel and stay in Manila for three days straight. The expenses will be too high if I decide to take the course there.

So I put the interest aside. The good thing was that I ended up getting in contact with Ms. An of Codelean and was told that they are bringing the course to Cebu soon. I was contacted a year later and got to learn that they are actually bringing it here in Cebu and would need my help (and another coordinator) to promote the event.

To make the story short, the course pushed through but I had several lessons learned with this experience and will be ranting about that here.

1. A marketer may not be a good fit for a project.

..especially when the project is not something he is interested in or the ex-deal is not something he can benefit in monetarily or professionally. Our other coordinator who could have helped in promoting the course ended up awol after signing up his help for the project. It left a bitter experience for me to experience something like that from a marketer that I respected. It’s all done now and I guess it will just be written of as “lesson learned”.

 2. If you are not sure if your product/service will generate customers, create a community first.

We had a hard time reaching out to companies who would be interested in joining the course. The challenge is that this was to be the first course done in Cebu therefore zero community = zero awareness. Well, that is except for the companies who are already actually starting to use Scrum in their product development. We tried reaching out and asking for the support of local Cebu tech nonprofit groups but didn’t get the support from them. In the end, we ended up with 8 students. Barely enough to get the course to push through. Have a community and validate your offering.

3. Focus on the benefits. Not features.

As someone who has only a minimal knowledge of Scrum, promoting a course because of its features is harder than it looks. You have to focus promoting the benefits of your offering rather than the features, the cost, the venue, etc. Your prospects need to know how their lives (work life in this case) could be changed when they buy your product or service.

4. Slideshare + LinkedIn + Events for B2B marketing.

It’s a challenge to just use Facebook and Twitter to promote a hight ticket offering unless you want to get in touch with those who mention your business or are already a part of your community. With brand new (spanking new!) offerings in a new location for example, start out with being the most helpful brand for your target industry contacts. Give it time. Grow awareness. How? Create events, connect and offer tips through LinkedIn, upload presentations on Slideshare.

5. Lead generation involves calls. Not just email followups.

Call prospects. Grab that phone and dial numbers. This was my greatest challenge for this project since we don’t have a landline. It would be very, very costly to actually call them using what I have (Skype) and I don’t have the resources to do so.

So those are all my notes so far. I am glad that this course produced the first eight ScrumMasters from all our effort in promoting the course (which was evaluated as poor/not enough). There have been lessons learned in this case and am very much happy for the support of those who took the time to read our invites, tell their bosses, or answered their emails when we contacted.

If there’s a next run, however, I am looking forward to have the above items looked into to improve the student count.

Kudos to me for being a Certified ScrumMaster! Finally.

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