Category Archives: Continuing Education and Seminar Marketing

This blog discusses effective marketing of seminars and conferences. The blog is intended for continued education professionals to share tips and results of their promotional effects.

I thought that this was an awesome post about 100 entrepreneurs and their brief quotes.

I thought that this was an awesome post about 100 entrepreneurs and their brief quotes.

Examples include:

Billionaire CEOs of technology companies (ex. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg)

Aggressive hedge fund managers (ex. George Soros, Ray Dalio)

World-class athletes and performers (ex. Serena Williams, Tiger Woods)

Highly-effective authors, actors, directors, and movie producers (ex. JK Rowling, Steven Spielberg)

Leading inventors and scientists (Edison, Ford)

Which quotes or people resonate with your life experience?



New INCOSE CSEP Handbook v4.0 to be Released! Pass the CSEP test Now!

New INCOSE Handbook – New CSEP Opportunities

The newest INCOSE SE Handbook (version 4.0) is expected this month (June 2015). Now is a great time to plan for the CSEP/ASEP exam best suited to you, because the transition gives you a choice!.

Insider Hint – Since the CSEP application process can be long and time intensive, sign up first to become an ASPE. Once you pass the exam, you then can take your time to complete the more demanding CSEP application process.

The Handbook was delayed to coincide with the recent release of ISO-15288. Now INCOSE will offer a transition period for you. From now through December 2015, the current exam will continue to be primary, based on Handbook v3.2.2. The new exam will become primary in January 2016 – but the new exam can also be available by special request as early as July.

ATI matches the transition with our Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) Preparation course. You can still take our 2-day course based on Handbook v3.2.2 on July 7-8, 2015 in Chantilly, VA. Or you can expand your knowledge with our new 3-day version based on Handbook 4.0 on September 24-26 (and forward). The new course will cover the significant expansion in the new Handbook (another 50 pages!) and will also include more exercises and activities to help you “seal in” the knowledge for the exam.

You can choose! Take the shorter course and get your ASEP/CSEP now, before the change – or take the longer course to get the full set of new knowledge and more learning activities. Either way, you advance your career by gaining the INCOSE certification!


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How to Be More Productive When You & Your Staff are Spread too Thin

I recommend the Clemson Conference to anyone working in training. I have attended many times over my career. This year for the first time I am giving a presentation. I am looking forward to sharing ideas with you at the August 24 – 26, 2014 Clemson Conference. As Founder and President of the Applied Technology Institute (ATIcourses), I have been in the continuing education/training “trenches” for 30 years. From a few dollars of seed money and starting with one associate in 1984, we have built ATI into a multi-million dollar technical and scientific training company with over 200 subject matter experts as instructors.


One of my key observations from 30 years of experience is that most training companies and university continuing education departments operate as small business units, usually with less than 50 employees. The training department at many companies is also small, perhaps 5 people at a typical company or government facility.  Everyone must be a knowledgeable “jack of all trades,” and at the same time “master of some.”


With a small staff, everyone must have clearly defined responsibilities, but just as important to success is having everyone crossed-trained to provide back-up. Cross-training and back-up is especially important as the work load increases, or as people change jobs or retire.  As we know many organizations face the retirement of key “Baby Boomers.” Are you and your team ready for the people who will likely leave in the next few years?

As people leave or retire, the existing staff is often asked to take on more responsibility. This means each one of us has to be more productive. Today, I thought I would share with you a working list of 20 ways I have tried to stay productive over the years.

  1. Get a Full Night’s Rest
  2. Wake-Up & Get-Up Really Early
  3. Eat a Banana or Fruit Mid-Afternoon Every Day
  4. Have Two Monitors on Your Desk
  5. Put House Plants in Your Office, but Try to Get Others to Water Them
  6. Work by a Window Whenever Possible
  7. Limit Your Email Use (or at least schedule your email time)
  8. Avoid Social Media Rabbit Holes
  9. Don’t Try to Multi-task
  10. Chew Some Gum or Drink Water Regularly
  11. Avoid Procrastination and Putting Off Projects. Prioritize Tasks Each Day
  12. Take Short Breaks Between Bouts of Work of About 1.5 Hours
  13. Use an App Like Toggle to Keep Track of Your Time Allocation
  14. Ditch Your Perfectionism
  15. Get Up Out of that Desk Chair and Stretch
  16. Say ‘I Don’t” When Declining an Offer vs. ‘I Can’t
  17. Measure People by the Size of Their Hearts, Not Their Resumes
  18. Know that Life is Not Fair & That You Will Fail Often. But Overcome That with Persistence
  19. When Times are Tough, Get Going and Face Down the Bullies and Other Inevitable Problems
  20. Never, Ever Give Up. If You Fail, View that as a Successful Learning Experience and Move On

I will elaborate on these ideas when we are together. I look forward to getting your ideas and sharing more of our experiences at the conference. So Register Now and join me and the Clemson Team in Chicago. If you want to attend, my contacts will receive a $200 discount. We have created a  special Collaborative Professional Development Registration Form

for the people who learned and register for the conference through ATIcourses.  See the following link:

ATIcourses colleagues can book at $495 rather than at  the regular price of $695. Please let me know if you are planning to attend and we can get together during the meeting.



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What Can Systems Engineers Learn From the Healthcare Roll-out Disaster?

Systems engineering, detailed planning and testing matter. ATIcourses offers a full range of Project Management and Systems Engineering courses. Read this article on the lessons learned (again) from the disaster of the healthcare web roll-out.  A big public failure focuses the mind.
Tenet #1 – Reduce complexity. Roll out products in phases, starting with a Minimal Viable Product (MVP).
Tenet #2 – Allow room for discovery and testing. With any software development project, especially one that works with existing components or legacy systems, it’s guaranteed that nobody will know all the potential issues up front.
Tenet #3 – Don’t let sales drive the product road-map.

Tenet #4 – Have a product manager. It’s mind boggling that with hundreds of people and several different companies working on the project, there was no central person, like a Product Manager, responsible for how the pieces fit together.

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Doing Business with DoD and All of Fed Government- Post-Sequestration

ATI has many customers who work for the government in defense or aerospace. We thought that this article was interesting and timely about working with agencies that are subject to sequester.
Doing Business with DoD and All of Fed Government- Post-Sequestration
July 3, 2013 By ChrisScott
Do you interact with government professionals in DoD or elsewhere in the federal government? This post may give you some important insights that may help.

Next time you make an appointment to meet with your DoD counterpart, you will most likely notice some very unpleasant changes. As you are well aware, sequestration has forced DoD to make some arbitrary cuts in ways that make no contribution towards meeting DoD goals and missions. By design, the sequestration is devoid of logic and planning, and it is breeding a sense of helplessness into an organization that prides itself on mission accomplishment.
First off: the furloughs themselves. Civil service employees in DoD are mandated to take 11 unpaid days off between now and 1 October, the end of the Fiscal Year. I have observed very few exemptions to the mandate. It appears that unless you are directly working in a combat zone, you will have to comply.
In the Navy, even the working capital employees of SPAWAR are required to furlough. Since these working capital employees are paid directly by the funds received for the projects they are working on, not paying them for these days does nothing to save USN money, and makes the programs at risk for having unobligated funds at the end of the year.
I have talked to numerous civil servants who are suffering the effects of this unanticipated 20% pay cut. You should know that when they do the math, they do NOT call it a 20% pay cut, but more than that. They have fixed expenses for their health care, insurance, retirement, etc. When the resulting 20% comes off the remainder, it is felt as more than 20% of the whole.
Secondly: the psychological effect. I have worked in DoD for many years, and I usually encounter the best and the brightest. These folks come to work with only one thing on their mind: doing the BEST job they can. They have always known that they have traded a lower income for a sense of National pride and a direct impact on the US defense mission.
Now they are being directed to work less hours and chastised that they must NOT work the full 40 hours. Their normal inclination is to suck it up and accomplish their job anyways. In fact, many of these employees are being told that there must be some pain to this policy. Some things must fall apart. For a force that prides itself on getting things done, this is having a very debilitating psychological impact.
As these employees sit back and watch their work go undone, it is only natural that they feel a sense of shame and frustration. They are being asked to do less. They are being told that their work is not important. They are being told that completing their work successfully is no longer a requirement.
I have always known that the most motivated employees are those that clearly understand their mission and have the tools and authorities to accomplish the goals. No amount of bonuses, time off, promotions, etc. can compete with the sense of well being achieved by doing a hard job well.
How this will unfold for next year is still unknown. A few organizations have obtained approval for reduction in forces (RIF). (Commander Naval Installations just announced that 745 civilian positions will be eliminated by 2014 ). It is clearly more effective to trim forces by 20%, vice rendering 100% of the forces 80% (or less) effective through furloughs.
Meanwhile, as you try to line up your meetings with DoD, some things you should know. Most commands are furloughing on Fridays. Some are bundling their Fridays with a Monday, to give them four-day weekends. During their furlough days, they are not reading/answering any emails or taking any phone calls. When they return, their emails and voice mails are backed up. If you time your request wrong, you will get lost in the backlog.
Things that were always hard are now a lot harder. DoD has not standardized their visitor requirements across the department. We all know that “boutique” solutions exist from organization to organization, usually a combination of Visitor Requests, JPAS submissions, etc. Making sure that all these t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted usually requires someone from within to connect the dots. On my recent swing through the PACOM AOR, I experienced two such disconnects. I usually bat 100%.
Finally, the meeting itself is subject to coordination across the participant organizations to find a time/date where all players are at work. With all the catching up that they are doing from their days off, and with the overwhelming sense of failure that comes from not completing your work, it’s increasingly difficult to line up productive sessions. I have found that one-on-one meetings are much more likely to be successful.
In conclusion, you will need to pay special attention to the above as you work with DoD this year. No matter how frustrated you are at the results, please remember to give a few words of encouragement. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not.

Detecting Quiet Diesel Electric Submarines

This is an article worth reading. You can also learn more by attending ATI’s sonar and acoustics courses.

This is a quote from the summary.

There are 39 nations operating a total of 400 diesel electric subs. Only three of these nations (China, Iran, North Korea) are likely to use their subs against the U.S. or its allies. China has fifty of these boats, Iran has three (plus 25 much smaller mini-subs) and North Korea has 20 (plus 50 much smaller mini-subs). So the U.S. has to worry about 73 diesel electric subs and 75 mini-subs. But about half the full size subs are elderly, obsolete, and noisy. The same can be said for at least half the mini-subs. That leaves about 36 full size subs and 40 mini-subs that are a clear threat (though the older stuff can be a threat if you get sloppy). That’s a lot of subs, and they make the East Asian coast and the Persian Gulf dangerous places for American warships.

Moreover, the North Korean and Iranian fleets (and governments) are in decline, while China is pouring more cash into their armed forces. If there’s any diesel-electric boats the U.S. Navy has to be extremely concerned about, it’s the Chinese. While China continues to try and develop world class nuclear subs, they are also moving ahead in creating world class diesel electric boats.




Training budgets: Smaller is not an option


The debate on the budgets for the government organizations is pretty toxic in the US. Both US Navy and US Army alongside other organizations have declared budget shortfalls which effect many areas including training. Without commitment to training and learning new skills there can be no continuous improvement, which is one of the prime directives of any government or company.

The Applied Technology Institute (ATI) specializes in short course technical training in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, systems engineering and signal processing. Since 1984 ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and on-site technical training to defense and NASA facilities, as well as DOD and aerospace contractors. The courses provide a clear understanding of the fundamental principles and a working knowledge of current technology and applications.


When your company does not want to pay for the training you really want, as an alternative, you can:

  • Spent your own personal money and funds; if you believe in it and then you will do it
  • Find a user group who are practicing the skills you desire
  • Don’t accept the classic answer from the boss, “How does X help the business?”. If the training is relevant to you achieving a goal of being a much better employee then of course it is relevant.
  • Find another organization to work for

A training manager with a good team can:

  • Fight for your team and their training; fight for your team’s budget and don’t let the senior management take it away
  • Give up your personal training for the entire year and suggest that they allocate the extra budget to training for your team members
  • Perhaps, it is time to evaluate the relationship with the preferred supplier of training. Has your firm been getting decent value from the PSL (preferred supplier list)?
  • Find alternatives to training like brown bag lunches and/or collaborate with other businesses

Everybody needs training and self-improvement.

Please share your opinion with us by commenting below.

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Agile Boot Camp: Practitioner’s Real-World Solutions

Agile is a wonderful springboard for team building & learning

Video Clip: Click to Watch

Presented by the Applied Technology Institute (ATI)

While not a silver bullet, Agile Methodologies are quickly becoming the most practical way to create outstanding software. Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Feature Driven Development and other methods each have their strengths. While there are significant similarities that have brought them together under the Agile umbrella, each method brings unique strengths that can be utilized for your team success. Rarely do organizations adopt one methodology in its pure form. Rather success is achieved by combining the best practices, creating a hybrid approach. The only way to Agile success is practice. Agile is an art more than a science. The art of Agile must be practiced and finely tuned over multiple iterations.

In this three-day Agile Boot Camp you will put the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques taught to work. The classroom will be broken up into Agile teams and your expert instructor will drive each team through the Agile process from Vision down to Daily planning and execution. Your instructor will answer questions with real world experience, as all of our instructors have Agile experience “in the trenches.”

This three-day class is set up in pods/teams. Each team looks like a real-world development unit in Agile with Project Manager/Scrum Master, Business Analyst, Tester and Development. The teams will work through the Agile process including Iteration planning, Product road mapping and backlogging, estimating, user story development iteration execution, and retrospectives by working off of real work scenarios.

Specifically, you will:

• Practice how to be and develop a self-organized team

• Create and communicate a Product Vision

• Understand your customer and develop customer roles and personas

• Initiate the requirements process by developing user stories and your product backlog

• Put together product themes from your user stories and establish a desired product roadmap

• Conduct story point estimating to determine effort needed for user stories to ultimately determine iteration(s) length

• Take into consideration assumed team velocity with story point estimates and user story priorities to come up with you release plan

• Engage the planning and execution of your iteration(s)

• Conduct retrospectives after each iteration

• Run a course retrospective to enable an individual plan of execution on how to conduct Agile in your environment

Who Should Attend?

Because this is an immersion course and the intent is to engage in the practices every Agile team will employ, this course is recommended for all team members responsible for delivering outstanding software. That includes, but is not limited to, the following roles:

Business Analyst, Technical Analyst, Project Manager

Software Engineer/Programmer, Development Manager, Product Manager

Product Analyst, Tester, QA Engineer, Documentation Specialist

What You Will Learn

• Practice and maintain a regular cadence when delivering working software each iteration

• Follow the team approach; start as a team, finish as a team

• Gain knowledge and understanding of Agile principles with context on why they are so important for each team

• Embrace planning from Vision down to Daily level, recognizing the value of continuous planning over following a plan

• Build a backlog of prioritized stories that provides emergent requirements for analysis that also fosters customer engagement and understanding

• Engage in more effective estimating (story points) and become more accurate by being less precise

• Pull together Agile release plans that connect you back to business expectations – including hard date commitments and fixed price models

• Apply Agile testing strategies based on unit and acceptance testing, which creates a bottom up confirmation that your software works

• Avoid the top mistakes made when rolling out Agile practices and how to craft an adoption strategy that will work in your organizational culture

Dates and Locations

For the dates and locations of these short courses, please see below:

5/2-4/2012, San Diego, CA

5/9-11/2012, Philadelphia, PA

5/14-16/2023, Phoenix, AZ

5/16-18/2012, Washington, DC

5/23-25/2012, Houston, TX

6/6-8/2012, Cleveland, OH

6/13-15/2012, Chicago, IL

6/18-20/2012, Columbia, MD

6/25-27/2012, Baltimore, MD

6/27-29/2012, Kansas City, MO

7/23-25/2012, Boston, MA

7/30-1/2012, Reston, VA

8/8-10/2012, San Diego, CA

8/27-29/2012, St Louis, MO

The Agile Boot Camp is a perfect place for cross functional “teams” to become familiar with Agile methods and learn the basics together. It’s also a wonderful springboard for team building & learning. Bring your project detail to work on in class.

Agile Project Management Certification Workshop (PMI-ACP)

You Need a Very Different Set of Tools to Manage Your IT Projects

Video Clip: Click to Watch

More than a Methodology Agile Project Management Embraces a Set of Principles

Prepare for your Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification while learning to lead Agile software projects that adapt to change, drive innovation and deliver on-time business value in this Agile PM training course Agile has made its way into the mainstream — it’s no longer a grassroots movement to change software development. Today, more organizations and companies are adopting this approach over a more traditional waterfall methodology, and more are working every day to make the transition. To stay relevant in the competitive, changing world of project management, it’s increasingly important that project management professionals can demonstrate true leadership ability on today’s software projects.

The Project Management Institute’s Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification clearly illustrates to colleagues, organizations or even potential employers that you’re ready and able to lead in this new age of product development, management and delivery. This class not only prepares you to lead your next Agile project effort, but ensures that you’re prepared to pass the PMI-ACP certification exam. Acquiring this certification now will make you one of the first software professionals to achieve this valuable industry designation from PMI.

Who Should Attend:

This Agile project management training course is designed for anyone who is considering the use of an Agile methodology for software development, including:

Project Managers, Analysts, Developers, Programmers, Testers

IT Managers/Directors, Software Engineers, Software Architects

Software Managers, Testing Managers, Team Leaders, Customers.

What You Will Learn:

• Embrace a model of continuous planning over simply following a plan

• Transform your Agile project management style from “command and control” to “empower and inspire” with your team

• Create a cadence for the team and eliminate process distractions for a dramatic boost in efficiency

• Establish credible and achievable estimates using Agile project management estimating techniques

• Communicate more transparently and reduce interruptions to your team

• Rapidly build trust with your customers through frequent and effective collaboration

Dates and Locations

For the dates and locations of this course, please see below:

5/2/2012-4/2012 Milwaukee, WI

5/9/2012-11/2012 Tampa, FL

5/9/2012-11/2012 Tampa, FL

5/22/2012-25/2012 VIRTUAL TRAINING

5/23/2012-25/2012 Columbia, MD

5/30/2012-1/2012 Raleigh, NC

6/6/2012-8/2012 Boston, MA

6/13/2012-15/2012 Washington, DC

6/18/2012-20/2012 Houston, TX

6/20/2012-22/2012 Denver, CO

6/27/2012-29/2012 Sacramento, CA

7/16/2012-18/2012 Baltimore, MD

7/18/2012-20/2012 St Louis, MO

7/24/2012-27/2012 VIRTUAL TRAINING

7/25/2012-27/2012 Oklahoma City, OK

7/25/2012-27/2012 Philadelphia, PA

7/30/2012-1/2012 Chicago, IL

8/6/2012-8/2012 Washington, DC

8/8/2012-10/2012 Kansas City, MO

8/20/2012-22/2012 Dallas, TX

8/27/2012-29/2012 Minneapolis, MN

8/29/2012-31/2012 Boston, MA

9/5/2012-7/2012 Vancouver, British Columbia

9/19/2012-21/2012 Toronto, Ontario

10/10/2012-12/2012 Calgary, Alberta

10/17/2012-19/2012 Toronto, Ontario

11/14/2012-16/2012 Toronto, Ontario

11/27/2012-29/2012 Vancouver British, Columbia

12/12/2012-14/2012 Toronto, Ontario

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Announcing ATI’s New Model Based Systems Engineering with OMG SysML

Video Clip: Click to Watch

Increased Productivity through Model-Based Systems Engineering Principles and Practices

This three day course is intended for practicing systems engineers who want to learn how to apply model-driven systems engineering practices using the UML Profile for Systems Engineering (OMG SysML™).You will apply systems engineering principles in developing a comprehensive model of a solution to the class problem, using modern systems engineering development tools and a development methodology tailored to OMG SysML™. The methodology begins with the presentation of a desired capability and leads you through the performance of activities and the creation of work products to support requirements definition, architecture description and system design. The methodology offers suggestions for how to transition to specialty engineering, with an emphasis on interfacing with software engineering activities. Use of a modeling tool is required. 

What You Will Learn:

• Identify and describe the use of all nine OMG SysML™ diagrams

• Follow a formal methodology to produce a system model in a modeling tool

• Model system behavior using an activity diagram

• Model system behavior using a state diagram

• Model system behavior using a sequence diagram

• Model requirements using a requirements diagram

• Model requirements using a use case diagram

• Model structure using block diagrams

• Allocate behavior to structure in a model

• Recognize parametrics and constraints and describe their usage

Each student will receive a lab manual describing how to create each diagram type in the selected tool, access to the Object-Oriented Systems Engineering Methodology (OOSEM) website and a complete set of lecture notes. You can add notes and more detail based on the in-class interaction. When the course is over you will receive a certificate of completion. Please visit our website for more valuable information.

About ATI and the Instructor

Our mission here at the Applied Technology Institute (ATI) is to provide expert training and the highest quality professional development in space, communications, defense, sonar, radar, and signal processing. We are not a one-size-fits-all educational facility. Our short classes include both introductory and advanced courses.

Since 1984, ATI has provided leading-edge public courses and onsite technical training to DoD and NASA personnel, as well as contractors. Whether you are a busy engineer, a technical expert or a project manager, you can enhance your understanding of complex systems in a short time. You will become aware of the basic vocabulary essential to interact meaningfully with your colleagues. If you or your team is in need of more technical training, then boost your career with the knowledge needed to provide better, faster, and cheaper solutions for sophisticated DoD and NASA systems.

ATI’s instructors are world-class experts who are the best in the business. They are carefully selected for their ability to clearly explain advanced technology.

J.D. Baker is a Software Systems Engineer with expertise in system design processes and methodologies that support Model-Based Systems Engineering. He has over 20 years of experience providing training and mentoring in software and system architecture, systems engineering, software development, iterative/agile development, object-oriented analysis and design, the Unified Modeling Language (UML), the UML Profile for Systems Engineering (SysML), use case driven requirements, and process improvement. He has participated in the development of UML, OMG SysML, and the UML Profile for DoDAF and MODAF. J.D. holds many industry certifications, including OMG Certified System Modeling Professional (OCSMP), OMG Certified UML Professional (OCUP), Sun Certified Java Programmer, and he holds certificates as an SEI Software Architecture Professional and ATAM Evaluator.

Date and Location

The date and location for this short course is:

May 22-24, 2012 in Columbia, MD

Click here for more information

For the dates and locations of all of our short courses, please access the links below.


The ATI Courses Team

P.S. Call today for registration at 410-956-8805 or 888-501-2100 or access our website at For general questions please email us at


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P.P.S. What Happens at ATI does NOT Stay at ATI because our training helps you and your organization remain competitive in this changing world. Please feel free to call Mr. Jenkins personally to discuss your requirements and objectives. He will be glad to explain in detail what ATI can do for you, what it will cost, and what you can expect in results and future performance.