Effective this year MMS will be merging with TechEd (this was announced at http://blogs.technet.com/b/in_the_cloud/archive/2013/10/01/what-s-next-for-mms.aspx). This may be a tough integration as MMS has a long history and an existing culture. I have been pondering this for a little while and came up with some suggestions which I will summarize below as my MMS 5×5 plan. My hope is that this blog post can spur a discussion in the community and potentially help to set the course for this combined conference.
- Presenters: All attendees from the previous three years of MMS should be given a survey which lets them choose a total of five presenters from previous years of presentation at MMS that they would like to see at TechEd. The top presenters from this list will be automatically selected as speakers at TechEd as long as they are willing to present on an acceptable topic.
- Topics: Key topics should be able to be requested by MMS attendees. The same survey should allow previous MMS attendees to choose a lit of a total of five presentation topics that they would like to see at TechEd. The top topics from this list will be automatically selected as long as an acceptable speaker can be identified.
- Exhibiters: Exhibiters from MMS should be in a separate section from the full set of exhibiters for TechEd or at least in a designated portion of the exhibiter hall. It is easy to lose exhibiters in an event the size of TechEd so there needs to be an easy way to find the exhibiters that we would expect to see at MMS.
- Community: There needs to be a place for MMS attendees to gather at TechEd. These types of places were key to meet and greet folks who you were looking to run into at MMS. This could be a designed section of the exhibiter hall or elsewhere in the event. An alumni lounge should also be retained for MMS alumni now that this has been rolled into TechEd. Sessions for MMS should be in their own section of the conference center to help to retain the sense of community and to increase the likelihood that they will be in the same physical location as their peers during the conference.
- Party: An MMS only party would be a great way to give a shout out to the folks.
I also had an excellent discussion with a lady at a user group meeting recently who had additional suggestions which I will summarize both her thoughts and my own related to her thoughts below:
- Speakers: Speakers should have a link to an existing video showcasing their presentation skills. These videos would make it easier for someone to identify a presenters who has a style that they would or would not like to see.
- Speakers (part 2): More female presenters would be an excellent addition, the example she cited was in MMS 2011 where there was a female presenter involved in the keynote.
- Sessions: Avoid session duplication. Sessions in the MMS tracks should only be related to System Center and Azure as an example. TechEd would cover topics such as Windows Server, Windows 8.1 and more but not System Center related topics.
- Party: During the open party, setup sections where technology folks can easily identify their area of interest such as Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, DPM, etc. A lot of companies may only send one person so that person would greatly benefit from getting to network with people that have similar interests.
- Local restaurants: Ask the local restaurants in the area to provide food for one of the social events early in the week so that people can identify local restaurants that they would like to visit.
If you accept the premise that MMS will be merging into TechEd and if you were responsible for the merge of MMS into TechEd, what suggestions would you make to keep the heritage of MMS and to effectively integrate it into TechEd?
Please post your thoughts here!