How to Get Your Manager to Approve Your Ticket to xChange13

xChange13As a release manager, CM manager, configuration manager, help desk manager, administrator, engineer, architect, project manager or analyst, one of the biggest challenges in attending any user conference is getting your manager’s approval. Some upper-level managers view conferences as an excuse for going out and having a good time. Therefore, you need to sell your manager on the value of user conference participation. Here are some helpful hints on getting the approval you need to attend Serena’s Annual Global User Conference, xChange13, this September.

  1. The value and knowledge gained at xChange13 is difficult to replicate elsewhere. You’ll be able to address your specific questions with Serena support technicians, product experts and power users at the conference. Provide your manager with a written list of issues you hope to address and, if possible, list the specific technical sessions you plan to attend. Use this list to demonstrate the value of xChange to your company. You can view some of the sessions in the current xChange brochure.
  2. Face-to-face interaction facilitates valuable information exchange and problem-solving. Talk to your Serena sales representative now about setting up meetings with specific Serena product owners, engineers and executives to resolve particular issues. Over 100 Serena staff will be at the conference. Many xChange attendees save hundreds of thousands of dollars from finding solutions to problems or new ideas to speed their organization’s growth. Consider your attendance at the conference as an investment rather than an expense, and explore your company’s education or training budget as a resource.
  3. Boost productivity back at the office. Offer to host a “lunch and learn” upon your return to the office. Use the data you’ve obtained at xChange13 to educate your entire team or other cross-functional teams that are key to your business unit. Quantify the benefit: imagine if you can boost your productivity (or the team’s) by just 5%, a very conservative number.  It would mean 100 hours per year per team member.
  4. After the show, prepare a brief written report for your manager. Use this report to document the outcome of your meetings with Serena product owners, engineers and executives. Include additional information gained from conference speakers, other users, or Serena partners to supplement your summary of solutions for your company’s current problems and concerns. Don’t forget to work in the value of networking and the information you obtained on how companies are solving similar issues. You might consider writing portions of your summary as a blog or Twitter post.
  5. Finally, remember that the best time to get permission to attend xChange14 is while the value of the 2013 conference is fresh in your manager’s mind. When you return from xChange13 in September, give your boss a heads-up on when xChange14 will be held and how much you are looking forward to building on the relationships you established this year.

Throughout this entire process, you will have educated your boss on the issues and concerns you deal with in your day-to-day responsibilities; demonstrated your own professionalism; and opened the door to continuing your education by attending xChange. If you haven’t already, begin the process described above with this email template request for manager approval so that we can look forward to seeing you in September!

For more information about xChange13, go to www.serena.com/xchange.


Kevin Parker is a 30 year industry veteran, holder of three technology patents and is VP and Chief Evangelist at Serena Software. He speaks and writes on application development methodologies, business analysis, quality assurance techniques, governance, open source issues, and tool interoperability, from the mainframe to distributed platforms to the web and mobile and embedded systems. Kevin was born and educated in the UK and currently lives on a boat on the San Francisco Bay.



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