Top 10 sessions announced for Project Conference 2014

Project Conference 2014 logoProject Conference 2014 will be held on February 2-5 at the Anaheim Convention Center, right next to Disneyland. The highly anticipated event will bring together thought leaders, expert practitioners, sophisticated customers, and many more project professionals from across the project and PPM industry to make connections, learn from one another and get cutting edge insight from the Microsoft Project team.

Registration for the event is now open at the event website: We encourage attendees to make plans as early as possible to account for the popularity of the surrounding area as both Disneyland and greater Southern California are top travel destinations.

Top 10 Sessions

We had an unprecedented response to our call for content this year, with over 200 high-quality submissions. Choosing the right mix of sessions has been a challenging task but we’re confident that the lineup for Project Conference 2014 is better than ever before. Here are the top 10 headliner sessions, which will be complemented by over 80 more great sessions from industry experts, customers, partners, and our own engineering team.

Business track

Choose the right project and portfolio management solution for today and the future
Facilitator: Jan Kalis, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft

When it comes to project management, every individual, team, and organization has unique needs. Microsoft’s vision for project management is to enable individuals and teams to choose the tool that is the best fit for their specific project while still delivering the visibility that their organization needs to ensure focus on the right priorities. This session will help you understand how all the solutions across Office 365, SharePoint, and Project fit together so you can chart a realistic approach to project management for your organization that will deliver immediate value with an eye to the future.

Jan is a Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft Project & Visio and has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry. Jan ran a training and development business before working in the European Microsoft subsidiary in various customer facing roles; he is very passionate about customer satisfaction and Microsoft Project Online. He’s been involved in many Microsoft Project deployments, created many sessions and demos for Microsoft Project, as has been a valued speaker at events across the world. Jan has 6 books published, MBA and MEE degrees, and you can find his blog at

ROI: Accelerating your time to value with Project Online
Facilitators: Tad Haas, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft and Cindy Lewis, Director of Knowledge Management, Advisicon
Get on the fast track to multiplying business value with Project Online. Economic justification and an analysis of both concrete and qualitative savings will be explored.

Tad is passionate about the positive impact project & portfolio management software has for today’s leading enterprises.  20 years of experience in business software working with senior IT and business leaders provides his foundation for customer value.   Guiding the Microsoft Project global partner strategy gives him insight to customer and partner success..

Cindy has been working in project management for over 20 years, and has in-depth expertise in lifecycle management, organizational project/portfolio process development and management, and customized curriculum development and execution. Cindy is a Microsoft Project MVP and has a long list of credentials and accomplishments establishing her as one of the foremost experts in the project and portfolio management industry.

10 reasons your CEO will thank you for upgrading to the latest Microsoft Project
Facilitator: Mark Sargeant, Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft
Discover the Project 2013 value pillars and explore the differences between older versions with a focus on high-value business processes. Improvements in scheduling, reporting, resource management, communication and collaboration will be highlighted in the context of driving project value through Project and Office 365.

Mark is the product manager for Project Professional and Project Standard while focusing broadly on digital marketing strategy across the Project and Visio products. He came to the Project Team last year after spending four years with Microsoft as a software development engineer in the Commerce Platform and Pinpoint teams. He has an MS in Computer Engineering and an MBA.

Why Hilti, the leading-edge technology provider to the global construction industry, chose project and portfolio management in the cloud: A customer case study
Facilitator: Christian Budendick, Head of Workplace Platform Services, Hilti
The Hilti Corporation provides innovative technology solutions to the construction industry across 120 countries. To deliver leading-edge technology to its customers, it needed the latest technology to manage its own projects in an efficient and scalable way. Hilti decided to deploy Microsoft Project Online, a cloud service for project portfolio management to build up and benefit from a centralized project portfolio. The systems allows a department-wide capacity and resource management.

This presentation gives you an overview of experiences made during the deployment of Project Online at Hilti. Read more about the Microsoft Project Online Hilti case study.

Dr. Budendick is a thought leader both at Hilti and in the greater project management profession. His understanding of the pros and cons of shifting IT infrastructure to the cloud is progressive and grounded in years of experience as an enterprise leader.

Product track

What’s new in Project 2013 client
Facilitator: Heather O’Cull, Sr. Program Manager Lead, Microsoft
Come learn about the new features available in Project 2013 so you can impress your boss, deliver your projects on-time and under-budget and be the envy of all your co-workers.

Heather has worked on Project for nine years owning features from the timeline to ribbons to client reporting. She is currently the lead for the Project client and project manager experiences.

Introducing Project Online, a new Office 365 Service
Facilitator: Mike McLean, Microsoft
Project Online is the Office 365 service that enables teams and organizations to manage their day-to-day work, plan mission critical projects and prioritize portfolio investments to maximize business value. This session provides an overview of Project Online and Project Server 2013 functionality now available through Office 365. We will be spending a significant amount of time demonstrating Project Online – so don’t miss it!

Mike McLean is a Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Project team.  He has most recently shipped Project Online, a Office 365 service. 

Building stellar project dashboards with Microsoft Visio
Facilitator: Krishna Mamidipaka, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft
With Visio Pro for Office 365 and SharePoint, organizations can create highly intuitive and customized dashboards to visualize the general status and health of your ongoing projects. In this session, you will learn how to get started on this visualization journey by building your own Project KPI dashboards and share the same with others within and outside of your organization. A must attend!!

Krishna is responsible for Product Management and Marketing for Microsoft Visio. He works closely with the Engineering teams, Customers, Partners, Microsoft sales and marketing professionals around the world. Prior to his current role, he spent over 8 years at IBM as a Senior Manager within their emerging products group.

Technical track

Microsoft Project Server 2013: Architecture drilldown
Facilitator: Chris Boyd, Sr. Program Manager Lead, Microsoft
Want to gain a better understanding of how Project Server works under the user interface? Get an introductory tour to the Project Server architecture and the various components that make up the server. This session will provide insights into the design decisions that were made and also touch on how the architecture is leveraged with Microsoft’s own Project Server deployment, Project Online. Prepare yourself for administrating your own Project Server deployment by gaining a deeper understanding of all the pieces that make up the server and how they interact.

Chris joined the Project team in 2005 and has worked on several server infrastructure features including programmability, architecture improvements and performance. He is currently the lead for Project Online.

Microsoft Project Server 2013 deployment best practices
Facilitator: Raphael Ax, Premier Field Engineer, Microsoft
The session covers the best practices for Project Server 2013 Deployments evaluated as a Premier Field Engineer at our Enterprise customers in EMEA. The content focuses on the steps and considerations for planning & executing the deployment of a well-designed Project Server infrastructure. It details the experiences we have made for different customer scenarios and requirements. Additionally the session shows the further tools and techniques which can be used to optimize the operation of a Project Server 2013 environment.

Raphael has been a Premier Field Engineer and EMEA Technology Manager for Project Server at Microsoft GBS in Germany since 2009, and previously worked for over three years as a consultant and project manager at a German Microsoft Gold partner, implementing Project & Portfolio Management solutions for enterprise customers. His focus is supporting German enterprise customers deploying and operating Microsoft Project Server environments. He also leads the IP and readiness development activities of Microsoft’s EMEA Project Server support delivery team.

Real world reporting: Microsoft Project Online / Microsoft Project Server 2013 business intelligence overview
Facilitator: Mike McLean, Sr. Program Manager, Microsoft
Learn how Project Online and Project Server 2013 leverages SharePoint’s new business intelligence capabilities to provide easy, yet powerful, reporting options for the enterprise. See how Project Server data can be surfaced in real-time reports and dashboards using tools such as Excel 2013, Excel Services, PowerPivot and OData!

Mike has been involved with several areas of Project Server, including Business Intelligence and SharePoint Integration, and recently shipped Project Online. Prior to working on Project, Mike helped ship the initial release of SharePoint Online where he owned provisioning of the SharePoint service in Office 365. Mike previous work at Microsoft includes PerformancePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics, focused on financial reporting and analytics. When he doesn’t have his head in the (Office 365) clouds, Mike can be found spending time with his wife and 3 kids, running, or trying to play guitar.