Posted by: projectsinpractice | March 16, 2012

Project Conference Envy

Teresa here:

Phoenix Convention CenterI don’t get to go to the Microsoft Project Conference 2012 happening in Phoenix next week. The Microsoft Project team hosts this conference, and next week it’s THE place to be for project management professionals, managers, administrators, and developers from around the world.

I feel like I’m missing out. So to console myself, I thought I’d pretend I was going, and pick out the highlights of what I’d do if I were there.

First off, I’d catch up friends and colleagues at the Monday night welcome reception. I’d also seek out and connect with a number of virtual friends and colleagues, to finally meet them in person.

At the keynote presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, I’d sit up close, hoping for new insights and creative sparks about using Microsoft Project. I’d especially look for news about the next version of the product, what features it might have, and when it might be available. There’s nothing in the conference buzz that leads me to believe there will indeed be any big announcements, but one can hope.

I’d lurk at the Ask the Experts reception, scheduled for 11:45-1:45 pm Tuesday, March 20. It’s billed as a Q&A session on about 10 topics from the Microsoft Project team and other experts. I love hearing questions about Project and Project Server from users in the trenches of a variety of industries. It’s all fodder for future articles and books.

If I were there, I’d be signing books at the Microsoft booth in the Exhibit Hall. Bonnie will be signing her “Successful Project Management” book 1-1:30 pm on Wednesday, March 21. Since she contributed to my “Microsoft Project 2010 Inside Out” book, she’ll also be signing those in my absence. Be sure and stop by and meet The Bonnie in person!

I’d chat with as many users as I can, learn the industry they’re in, and quiz them on how they use Microsoft Project. What I’ve learned from past conferences is that some of the biggest challenges project managers face as they use Microsoft Project is resource management, reporting, and implementing Project Server in a way that works for all stakeholders.

And what a deal…I’d definitely take advantage of the free Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) testing for Microsoft Project 2010, Managing Projects (Exam 70-178) and Microsoft Project Server 2010, Configuring (Exam 70-177).

With more than 90 presentations available, I’d go to all of the 11 breakout sessions, hard-pressed to make my choices. I’d be on the hunt for best practices and new ideas, as well as clever tips and tricks to make my projects more efficient and successful, and also to share with others.

The sessions are divided into three tracks: business value and insights, product sessions, and deployment and administration. These would be my top 11:

  1. Modeling Traditional, Serial, and SCRUM Techniques in Project 2010, with Sam Huffman
  2. Critical Path 2.0, with Eric Uyttewal
  3. Designing with Project’s New Manual Scheduling Type, with Sam Huffman
  4. Resource Management – Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together, with Collin Quiring
  5. Managing Resource Supply and Demand with Microsoft Project Server 2010, with Tony Zink
  6. Project Scheduling Revisited: Performance Tuning Your Scheduling Practices, with Glenn Searle
  7. Turning Project Data into Real World Reports: An Overview of Business Intelligence Options, with Mike McLean and Andrew Lavinsky
  8. Project and Project Portfolio Management That Works, Danny Smith
  9. Unleashing the Value of Earned Value: Applying Schedule and Cost Controls to Measure Project Performance, with Andrew Lavinsky
  10. Making the Most of Project Professional when Managing Multiple Projects, with Cindy Lewis
  11. Delivering Microsoft EPM Success: Essential Steps to Map People, Process, and Tools, with Vadim Bogdanov

So as the next best thing, I intend to follow along. Experts, speakers, and participants will be blogging and microblogging, using the Twitter hashtags #MSPC12 or #MSProject. Bonnie will certainly post at least one blog (possibly more) here about the conference next week.

Read more about Microsoft Project 2010 Inside Out and Successful Project Management.

Talk back: Are you going to next week’s Microsoft Project Conference? If so, what are you most looking forward to?



  1. Yeah, Teresa! I’m going! And I’ll even sign copies of your book for you in your absence. Your post has laid out quite the gauntlet for me to follow, but I’ll do my best. I’m going to try to post something to the blog in the evenings, if I can stay awake long enough.

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