Last week, I got a chance to attend MS Ignite 2016, the mega-conference by Microsoft. I was fortunate enough to be selected to speak at this conference. Here are the slides to my session.

Since many people have already posted their reviews on this event, I will keep my version short and NOT talk about the quality of the food, the interminable walks between sessions, and the plethora of the content. 🙂

Instead, I will focus on Microsoft PPM, which is my area of expertise.

  • Firstly, there were several sessions on Microsoft PPM. Check them out here.  For those of us who are used to our own Project Conference, the number and variety may seem  insignificant, but I think it was still a decent number of sessions compared to any other office app. Also, I thought the sessions were pretty good in being to the point and focusing on the future of PPM

          Note: BTW, if you are yearning for the yesteryear’s Project Conference, you should check out Project Virtual Conference. The 2017 event will be announced soon.

  • As expected, the focus for Microsoft PPM is Project Online. There was very little to no talk about On-Premises version. While there was no official announcement about what will happen to on-premises versions, my guess is that it will take the same path as SharePoint 2016 with feature packs. Again, this is just my conjecture.
  • I got to spend some time in the project booth talking to customers, attendees etc., I am amazed that most of them did not know anything about Project Online. if they did, they were severely confused about the licensing options, and all the versions that are available, so on and so forth. I think the Product marketing team really needs step up the game here.
  • The Future of PPM session by Raman Sharma, showed off a couple of really cool demos bringing IoT to Project Management. I did not get to stay for Mike Mclean and Allan Rocha’s session on Reporting, but I got a chance to look at their PowerApps demo connected to project Online and Power BI and it looks awesome. I think the message is loud and clear. Project Management software cannot be this isolated beast that you only poke once in a while. It needs to come closer to the user and should be part of their daily routine.
  • There was a LOT of interest in Planner. As the Planner booth was right beside the Project one, I could see consistent crowd over at that booth, asking questions, looking at demos and so on. Which kind of validates my opinion  on the changing landscape of Project Management. It is no more about the complicated schedules, Gantt Charts and so on. I would even dare say, it is also not about waterfall or agile. I think ‘ease of use’ takes the cake for the day, and Planner falls right on the mark for ease of use. Project could take a cue from the design of Planner.
  • In Continuation to the point above, interestingly there were a LOT of people asking for integration between Planner and Project (which does not exist natively). This proves another point that organizations are not single type of work entities. They have varying levels of maturity, planning, governance, methodologies. More on this topic in a separate blog post.

Well, those are my key takeaways. And while I was at it, I should mention that I had some great time with Allan Rocha, the MS Project Engg and Marketing teams, and had fun overall.

Finally, some pictures.




Looking forward to MS Ignite 2017!