What's Next for Customery Academy?

What's Next for Customery Academy?

137. Customery Academy is my online business through which I coach and train Microsoft customers and partners to build amazing, agile business applications.

In this episode, I share a short history of Customery Academy, where it's at today, and my goals for 2023. Halfway through editing the episode, there's a surprise about just how many Customery Academy students have achieved their Professional Scrum Master certification thanks to my son's detective work.


People mentioned

Support the show


G’day and welcome to Amazing Applications. My name is Neil Benson and I'm honoured to be your podcast host today, and so glad you could join me. 

A lot of Amazing Apps listeners are already students of Customery Academy, and if you're not on board yet, I hope you'll join in one of our programs at some point this year. I'd love to have you come and join us. 

In this episode, I wanted to share with you where I'm at, and where I'm hoping to get to. I guess this would've been best done in early January as a kind of New Year's resolutions episode, but here we go. If you're a long time listener, or even if you're a first time listener, I hope you find this kind of interesting, just a inner workings of my mind and my business and, and our online academy. I wanna be transparent with you and open up a little bit about what I'm up to. 

I started Customery when I became a freelance CRM consultant back in London in 2009 eight 2008, and I kept it going as a blogging website while I worked for Slalom Consulting in California and then KPMG Australia between 2012 and 2018. 

Around about 2016, I thought about writing a book about how to use the Scrum framework to implement Dynamics CRM. But I switched format and eventually launched it as an online course in 2017. It was called "Introduction to Scrum for Dynamics 365", and was hosted on an online course platform called Teachable. 412 business applications professionals joined that course.

I think Brian Illand, from CODEC Ireland in Belfast, might have been the very first one. Hi Brian, if you're listening. 

I moved over or the courses moved over to New Zenler in late 2019 and since then, 3,323 Business Apps professionals just like you have joined the Customery Academy. [00:02:00] 2,629 of you have joined Agile foundations for Microsoft Business Apps. 678 people have joined Scrum for Microsoft Business Apps, which is my flagship course. 27 people have taken Winning Agile Projects, which is my masterclass for Microsoft partners. 236 people have joined my new Estimating Business Apps course.

 I launched the Professional Plan for Estimating Business Apps last week. So welcome to the 42 folks who joined me on the, the pre-release special offer pricing that was available until last Friday. Especially Hugues Imbeault from AMF in Quebec, who joined two minutes to midnight. Felicitation, Hugues.

Everyone who joins a course, completes a course, achieves their Scrum certification or subscribes to the Amazing Apps podcast, um, gets a personalized video. I use a service for that called Bonjoro, and I've sent 730 personalized videos in the past 12 months. 70% of those have been opened but only 54% of the videos have been watched . I wish I knew. Um, I wish I knew which half of you were gonna watch the videos before I created them. Anyway, I have to say, creating videos for people, especially those who've passed their Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master level one certification, it's always a real thrill.

Out of the 678 people who have joined my Scrum for Microsoft Business Apps course. 146 have completed it, and 98 have achieved their PSM1 certification. That's only a 21% completion rate, which I, I think sounds really low. But the average self-paced online course completion rate is about 3%, according to Seth Godin.

The completion rate for my Scrum course is seven times higher than the industry average, which is not bad. You might have started the course, got what you wanted from it, but not needed to or not wanted to take every single lesson. Or you might have watched every lesson, but just not pressed the 'Lesson Complete' button.[00:04:00] 

What's more remarkable is that of the 678 students enrolled in the Scrum course, 232, that's 34%, haven't even started it. In almost every case. The people who haven't started it never paid for it. Lots of MVPs got a free enrollment, and they never started it. Lots of students have won an enrollment maybe at a conference or at a sweepstakes or something that I've done, and they've never started it. Some people were given an enrollment by their manager who didn't hold them accountable for starting it, let alone completing it. 

 But I'm thrilled that 98 people have taken the course and achieved their PSM1 certification.

Last year I renewed my focus on helping more of you achieve that PSM1 certification. So there's now a Certification Plan, which includes my Scrum Guide with study notes in the margin, unlimited attempts at my PSM1 practice exam, a PSM1 exam voucher, and a PSM1 pass guarantee. I'll pay another $150 for another exam voucher if you don't pass.

There's also a Learning Plan. If you're not interested in certification and you just want all those best practices and, and patterns that I've got in there as well. 

My goal in 2023 is to help another 102 people achieve their PSM1. But I have to say a lot of students don't tell me when they've passed. Um, they're under no obligation to let me know. Um, but I can look up on the Scrum.org website if I know which email address they used to register for the exam. Sometimes I find out that way and just, it's amazing how many people, um, I get to celebrate in retrospect. If we can get another 102 people certified this year, that's 200 PSM1 certified Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Professionals in total. I'd love you to join me on that mission. 

Hey, it's Neil. I'm just interrupting my own editing, because that 98 number seemed a little low. I was pretty [00:06:00] disappointed that only 98 students had passed their PSM1 certification. My son, Jensen, took up the challenge and he went through the student list and looked up every student on LinkedIn to check if they had a PSM1 badge in their Licenses and Certifications section. And then he checked to see if their Customery Academy email address was listed in the Scrum.org database as having passed the PSM1 exam. Turns out there's actually 147 Customery Academy students who have passed their PSM1 exam. That's a lot closer to the 200 that I'm hoping for at the by the end of this year.

Thanks, Jensen. I offered to pay him $5 For every PSM he found. Good work, buddy. I owe you 255 bucks. All right, let's get back into the show. 

Scrum for Microsoft Business Apps is the only Scrum course created for people like you and me, and filled with my proven patterns and practices from using Scrum to build business apps since 2008. You can get started. Go and visit https://Customery.Academy today. 

Toward the end of last year, I switched to a new checkout called Humanitix. If you register a team of five or more, you automatically get a 20% discount. You can pay by credit or debit card or opt to receive an invoice in US Dollars, Aussie Dollars, or Pound Sterling.

You can register your team without registering yourself as a student, which is handy for managers like Paula. Hi Paula. Paula is a People Business Partner at Incremental Group and she seems to register new consultants on the course every month. 

One thing I'd love to do more of this year is to host more community calls and get to know you a lot better. Find out what challenges you're having applying and adopting an agile approach to building business apps and see if I or somebody else in our community can unblock you. 

We had a great workshop last week with about 20 people, um, interested in agile estimating, and I'd like to host a couple of workshops each month for Scrum students and maybe once a month for Estimating students. [00:08:00] I'll try and alternate them between early mornings here, uh, which suits most people in New Zealand, in Americas or in Europe. If you, uh, are European and like to stay up late. Or later in the evening in my time, which might suit you better if you're in Asia or in Europe and you get up early. Look out for those, um, scheduled events. I'll send those out, uh, to students in the next couple of.

There's a whole new website coming soon. Today I've got Customery.com, which is really just a holding page with four Ipsum Lorem pages underneath it. Thanks to the people who told me I haven't, I've got all this, uh, blank text in my website. I, I, I know I will get around into fixing it. The whole new site is coming.

There's Customery.Academy site, which is where all the courses live. Both of those sites are hosted on my online course platform, New Zenler. 

And then there's this podcast's website, https://AmazingApps.Show, which is hosted on a, a service called Podpage. 

I'm bringing all of those together onto Customery.com, in a few months. I'm working with a website design studio in Melbourne called Studio One Design. A branding expert here in Brisbane called Louise Williams, and she's gonna do some amazing brand photography for me. And Karthik Vijaykumar from Bangalore. Karthik and I are in a mastermind together, and he's the host of the Launch Plan podcast, and I'm really honored he's taken on the job of helping me write the copy for the new website. Hey, Karthik. 

It's gonna be awesome. Expect more playfulness, more Lego, more possibilities. You'll be the first to know when it's live. At least you will if you subscribe to the Amazing Apps podcast newsletter, which you can find at https://AmazingApps.Show, and you can sign up there.

Speaking of the podcast, I'm gonna do my best to publish an episode most weeks in 2023. I'll continue with a combination of interviews with people who are building, uh, amazing business apps and solo episodes like this one with my own reflections and lessons from, uh, what I'm learning from my teams as [00:10:00] we continue to refine our agile approach as we build business applications as well.

Amazing Apps has been downloaded 16,000 to 204 times in the last 12 months. I don't think that 16,000 downloads sounds like a lot. But podcast search engine Listen Notes reckons that that puts the show in the top 10% of all podcasts based on total downloads and my podcast hosting platform, Buzzsprout, reckon it's in the top 25% based on the average downloads per episode within seven days of release.

The data suggests that you enjoy listening to my back catalog of episodes as much as you do, uh, the new content. Episodes like 111 Start Here, or 109 Enterprise CRM with Scaled Scrum at RACQ, 116 Six Challenges of Enterprise Dynamics 365. That was with Dani Kahil and Andrew Bibby. Hey Dani, you're welcome to come back and host an episode anytime you like. Episode 120, Defining Requirements for Complex Power Platform Apps. That was with Hamish Shield. And 110 Testing Heaven. 

Those were their top five episodes over the last 12 months. 

I'm experimenting with publishing interview episodes on YouTube. Recent interviews with Rishona Elijah from episode 134, and Richard Hunhausen from 136 and a recent solo episode as well actually, the I'm Starting To Hate Scrum from 135 are on the Customery Academy channel on YouTube, if you enjoy listening and watching to podcast type content. 

To be honest, I've never really cracked the YouTube game. You know, I'm looking at what people like Scott Durrow and Lisa Crosbie are doing on there. It's, you know, they're, they're crushing it. My thumbnails and titles aren't up to standard, and I spent far more time and money on my course videos than YouTube videos.

But if you wanna nudge me into creating more video content, you know, hitting the Subscribe button on my YouTube channel wouldn't hurt my feelings. We're only at [00:12:00] 500 and something, so we have yet to crack the, the magic 1000. 

I hope you enjoy, uh, every episode and learn something from every episode and every YouTube video I do. And if you do, there's, there's lots of ways you can support the show. Here's a couple of ideas. If you've listened this far, well, thanks and congratulations, uh, keep listening for a couple of minutes then press pause and take action on one of these, and then, then come back to the podcast. 

First idea is leave an honest review or rating on Apple Podcasts. And if you're not an Apple user, a rating on Spotify would be great. You can also leave a review on https://AmazingApps.Show on my website, which maybe won't get seen by as many people, but I'll read out your review on a future. 

You can support the show with a donation. Visit AmazingApps.Show and click on BuyMeACoffee and, you know, chip in a couple of bucks for a coffee. Thanks to supporters like Ben Inkster, Nirav Mehta and John Bordin. I invest several hundred dollars a month with my podcast producers at Awesome Pros, hi guys, and your support is much appreciated. 

You can join me on the show. That's the third idea. Join me on. Come and visit AMazingApps.show/Guest and become a guest on the show, and tell us about your story and how your team built an amazing application, either internally if you're a Microsoft customer or maybe you're a Microsoft partner, grab one of your case studies. Aw heck, grab your customer if you can as well. You can both join me and share the win. 

If you're presenting at a conference, come and join me on the show and tell us about your topic. Uh, promote yourself and promote your conference. Most episodes have about three, four, maybe 500 listeners. So you'll probably reach a lot more people on the podcast than you might do at most conferences, unless you know you're the keynote speaker or something.

Or, number four, if none of those float your boat. Just share the episode with your mates at work. Comment, like or share episode posts on the Customery page on LinkedIn. 

Subscribe and follow the show on your [00:14:00] favorite podcast player. That'll be cool. 

As much as I love coaching Scrum practitioners and teams through Customery and creating all the Customery Academy courses and working with you; and creating the amazing Apps podcast and videos, I'm also having a blast running my new startup business, Superware. 

Superware is an ISV. We're building an app on the Power Platform for Australia's superannuation funds. Superannuation is just what we call retirement funds Down Under. We won our first two major customers in October last year. We've grown the team to 11 people and those apps go live in the next few months.

Next week, we're the only Microsoft partner exhibiting at the annual conference for superannuation funds and hope to meet some people and shake up our industry. We'd love to release our product to the market and double our team again in 2023. So that's what keeps me busy as a day job. 

I hope you enjoyed this episode and hearing about some of the things I'm up to.

What's your plan for 2023? 

Let me know if you or your team would benefit from some Scrum coaching, or if you wanna achieve your Scrum certification, come and join my Scrum from Microsoft Business Apps course. Or if you wanna level up your estimates and build better business apps proposals, I'd love to welcome you into my Estimating Business Apps course.

How can I help you? Email neil@customery.com and I'll do my best to help you out. 

Until then, keep sprinting.