There’s this movie with a famous saying : « Build it and they will come ». That was pretty much our thinking for Agile Coach Camp 2011 in Montreal over a year ago. The initial idea to hold the 2011 Coach Camp in Montreal was spawned by Ellen Grove (who lives in Ottawa, Canada) and suggested it to some folks in Montreal. I had agreed to help out with the project but quickly became the lead organizer.
Where are they?
« Build it and they will come » seemed more and more far fetched as March and April came around. We had a cool Web site (thanks Guillaume) but no sponsors and maybe 4 or 5 registrations. We had to change gears and start promoting! Ellen and I started tweeting our little hearts out and just getting the word out. It created some movement but nothing this ad hoc « marketing » team could brag about.
Since registration is free, sponsors are essential and getting every cheap is a must. The initial budget was set at approximately $7500.00 but I had to cut it down to about $5500.00, for obvious reasons. In a moment where I was feeling kind beaten down with the cost of creating a memorable event, Berteig Consulting came around with a Gold sponsorship. Of course the money helped a lot but I must emphasize the fact that it also made the event more « official » or might I say, legitimate. It felt like it was suddenly being recognized by the Agile coaching (business) community. Slowly thereafter came our other sponsors whom I will never thank enough!
Another defining moment was Lyssa Adkins’ registration to Coach Camp. Let’s be honest, when a coaches coach signs up to your event, it creates a buzz and from that moment, registration picked-up. Yes Lyssa! You had that effect 😉 Seeing this, Ellen Grove had another great idea (she knows how to get me in trouble!) : Why not tack on a Coaching Agile Teams Training with Lyssa just before Coach Camp? Made sense, so we did.
Just the two of us
By mid-June, Coach Camp is full, Coaching Agile Teams training is sold out and I’m still wondering if “they will come”. Coach Camp was just 2 weeks away and I’m thinking : what if everyone cancels? Silly I know, but none the less. This is when François Beauregard (a former colleague, a friend and Coach Camp facilitator) said to me : “If it’s just the two of us that show up, it’ll still be a success”. Suddenly, I had one less thing to worry about. Thanks Frank!
I’m obviously leaving out a lot of the details this roller-coaster ride had to offer, but suffice to say that we built it, and they came!
Thanks to everyone for making this event a huge success.
Special thanks to :
See ya next year at Agile Coach Camp in Toronto! (And maybe an AgileGames in Montreal… 😉 )