The Microsoft Ignite conference ( is just short of two weeks away. From May 4th through the 8th Chicago will be flooded with Microsoft employees, partners and customers looking for the latest information on Microsoft SharePoint, Yammer, Skype, SQL, Business Intelligence, Office 365, and of course Microsoft Project Server & Project Online. Jim Kane, who leads Paragon Solutions’ SharePoint Practice, and I will be dividing-up the sessions to soak in all of the latest and greatest information. The conference is sold out, and hotel rooms are hard to come by near the convention center.

Microsoft always does a great job of putting on these events. Having attended the 2013 Project Ignite in Virginia and the 2014 Project Conference in California last year, I can say firsthand that these sessions are extremely valuable to customers and partners. The Project Conference last year focused solely on the EPM (Enterprise Portfolio Management) platform and ancillary products. During the Project Conference Microsoft announced a new low cost SKU, Project Lite, for their Project Online environment as well as the ability to connect SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) to Project Online (although this takes a bit of effort). This year, Project Server/Project Online related sessions are rolled-in with the full Ignite agenda. At the end of this article I have listed a few of the Project & Portfolio Management related sessions.

I am very interested in the new SharePoint related announcements, as they always have some overlap into the EPM space. In addition, I am looking forward to the Business Intelligence and Office 365 related sessions. Microsoft has a huge push for their cloud solutions and they have no plans on stopping anytime soon. Project Online coupled with Office 365 provides an “instant on” environment for PMO’s to start managing their projects more effectively. The changes that have been made to Project Online over the last year, as well as the future that has been laid out for SharePoint and Windows 10, cement Microsoft’s commitment to the cloud. 

Microsoft has historically provided all of the session materials (PowerPoint and video recordings) to attendees and eventually the public up on their Channel 9 site. Stay tuned for recaps, analysis and additional blog entries from Jim and I as we digest the material and relate it to real world applications.

Do you have a session that you are especially interested in hearing about? Let us know and we may include a review of the topic in a future blog article. 

Microsoft Project / Project Server / Project Online related sessions:

Developer to Developer: Meeting Custom Needs with Microsoft Project
Do you want to learn how to manage projects, resources, and timesheets and customize them to meet your department’s needs? Come learn how to build Add-Ins for Project Pro for Office 365. Building Add-Ins is easier than you think.

How to Deploy Microsoft Project: Online and Server
Learn how to quickly and easily deploy Microsoft Project Online and Server. This session will take you step-by-step through the deployment process.

IT Project and Portfolio Management in the Cloud
Selecting right set of projects and managing them appropriately through their lifecycle is critical for any organization to successfully achieve its competitive edge and business goals. Due to limited resources and dynamic changes in business environment, Portfolio selection process is often challenging for IT and Business executives. Microsoft Project offers customers an integrated platform to select, manage, govern and monitor all projects across the enterprise in a way that is very objective and fully aligned with the organization’s business and growth strategy. This session will highlight end-to-end Project Portfolio Management using Project Online and Project Pro for Office 365.

Microsoft Project Online Customization: Best Practices
This session covers best practices that we have learned in the past two year of running the service. It discusses how to customize Project Online for better performance.

Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365: An Overview
Come learn about the features available in Microsoft Project so you can impress your boss, deliver your projects on-time and under-budget, and be the envy of all your co-workers.

Microsoft’s Vision and Roadmap for Work, Project, and Portfolio Management
Cloud, proliferation of devices, and apps have changed the way we collaborate and manage our tasks and projects. During this session, we talk about the Microsoft vision for work, project, and portfolio management and provide insights into our future product investments.

Project Online Customer Panel: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, St. Luke’s Hospital and TE
Come learn from our customers about their experiences working with Microsoft Project. This session features a dedicated Q&A section with our panel.

Real World Reports: Business Intelligence in Microsoft Project Online and Project Server 2013
Project Online and Project Server 2013 provide easy, yet powerful, reporting options to create a variety of projects, resources, and portfolio reports. Learn how you can create real-time reports and dashboards using tools such as Microsoft Excel 2013, Excel Services, Microsoft PowerPivot, Power View, and OData.

Supporting Microsoft Project Online and Project Server: Tips and Tricks
Come learn the tips and tricks for successful troubleshooting of issues both in Project Online and Project Server. Some of the tools described will be applicable to Online and on-premises customers, such as client side logging and web debugging – and also some specific on-premises tools to help understand ULS logs and database issues. A glimpse of how Microsoft supports the cloud is also included!

*Refer to the Microsoft Ignite site for additional information including presenters and bios.

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