GPUG Summit 2017 - Day 3

This is my 4th blog post in this series. Today, Friday, October 13th, is the 3rd & last day of GPUG Summit. The day was still full of sessions, with the last session time slot ending at 3:30 pm. Many people were leaving prior to that due to late afternoon flights. Those leaving Friday had to deal with busy traffic going to the airport due to an overturned tractor-trailer and cows on the loose! Anyway, my flight wasn’t until Saturday so that was not something I had to factor into my travel plans! In case you missed it, the first 3 blogs about GPUG Summit 2017 are:

Upgrade Planning & How to Test Effectively

My day started with back to back presentations; fortunately though, in the same meeting room. The first was at 8:30 am after a social downtown Nashville night before, so I’m just happy that some people showed up! I would guess I had an audience of approximately 30-35 people for this one but neglected to take a picture this time.

This was a good session but 100% talking, no demo of any sort. I could talk about upgrades all day and judging from the nods in the room, I brought up a lot of things that people either had run into in the past or didn’t think about and enjoyed the session.

Getting Data in and out of Canadian Payroll

My second session was a bit of a dud, although the 2.5 people I had to attend may disagree! Yes, 2.5. I’m averaging it out in my favour. :)

The session started with 3 people but 1 realized about halfway through that it wasn’t for him and left. The challenge with Canadian Payroll at a GPUG Summit is if you don’t have any sessions, people complain that there isn’t any content; and if you have sessions, no one shows up. This is the 2nd year I’ve been in or involved in a CanPay session and the attendance was dismal for both.

My frustration with this is I spent probably 15-20 hours, if not more, on preparing for this presentation with testing, slide deck, practice etc., and for only 2 people to attend, that’s frustrating and a waste of my time.

To be clear though, I don’t have regrets helping the people in the session, that’s time well spent but had I known, I wouldn’t have wasted so much personal time preparing the content I prepared. We had a good detailed conversation, the 2 people who stayed and myself, about their questions and ended up mostly just talking through other situations since neither of them were technical users who would have been the primary audience for my presentation anyway.

Lunch Break & Final Expo Session

After those two sessions, there was a long 11am-1pm break for lunch and the final 2 hours of the Expo Hall. I spent part of it in the Speakers Appreciation Lounge finishing my “day 2” blog post and then wandered down for lunch.

I had to laugh. How can you spot an MVP in a washroom? They’re the ones helping answer someone’s questions about their product while they’re in the washroom! I ran into Kerry Rosvold, the only female Dynamics NAV MVP, and there she is with a NAV user, by the sinks in a washroom, helping her with some questions about NAV. Talk about dedication!

I ended up having lunch with Kerry and her business partner, Amanda Mayer, who co-owns New View Strategies, a Dynamics NAV consulting firm. We had a very interesting chat about NAV, GP, Dynamics 365, (at times) bad messaging from Microsoft about all of the above, being the sole female MVP in a product line, and the perception of being a “non-technical” MVP in a world where many (mostly male) MVPs believe MVPs need to be “technical” and if you’re not, you don’t deserve your award. It was a great discussion. In ERP product lines, there are plenty of very valuable contributions we all make to the community that are on both functional and technical aspects of our product lines, that clearly don’t fit the traditional “MVP” mould. I’m pretty lucky that our Dynamics GP MVPs are very supportive of each other and many of us also don’t fit the “purely technical” definition and that’s ok. It sounds like that isn’t how the NAV MVPs tend to work, which is very unfortunate. Product evangelism comes in all forms!

GPUG Medic Desk

I finally had a free time slot to be able to be at the GPUG Medic Desk after lunch. I joined the superhero herself, Leslie Vail, and we had a good time bantering on the handful of user questions we got while I was there.

GPUG Feedback Session

At the last time-slot of the day, I chose to skip my original session choice and instead sat in on the GPUG Feedback session with Bob McAdam, GPUG General Manager. It was a good session with a handful of users and a couple of us partners in the mix.

There was a lot of good discussion and banter. For the record, some of my feedback was:

  • The session materials download area needs some improvement. It’s not designed well for downloading multiple things as you can only select one thing at a time. Being able to “download all” or at least quickly find all sessions that you personally marked off as favourites, would be useful.
  • The invites for certain training and sessions went out very late, well after travel had been booked. As a result for me personally, I missed out on invites to a community leader event and training because I was arriving after they occurred. Had I known in advance about them, I would have altered my flights to accommodate.
  • Based on my own sessions alone:
    • We should no longer bother with Canadian Payroll sessions (unless there is specific feedback on what is perceived to be missing); OR, the approach needs to be a mini-roundtable discussion panel thing instead where we don’t need to prep much and just take a Q&A from users instead.
    • We need more entry level sessions for both Fixed Assets and Excel. We could split Fixed Assets into a “never used it before” session for tips on implementing it and a “use it but struggle” with tips and troubleshooting.
    • For Excel, I can easily envision a session like Frank and I did but then also a session or two on just formulas, and nothing else. A 101 and 201 type, to deep dive into “real world” useful formulas and tips on when to use them correctly.
  • GPUG Medic Desk - a sign-up board showing who’s at what time and when there are gaps so people can sign up on site would be useful. If I’m any indication, pre-scheduling me to specific time slots just didn’t work and I missed nearly everything I was scheduled for. Plus, I’d suggested the time slots need to align with the presentation times. You can’t have Medics scheduled every hour when sessions overlap; people may be able to skip 1 presentation slot to help but covering 2 timeslots just makes it harder to commit.

That was the end of the day from a session perspective. I finished writing this one up while sitting in an empty coffee shop in the property, then turned off the computer for the rest of the day and started to decompress!

Next up will be my wrap-up post on Saturday, where I’ll be summarizing some of my thoughts about the event as a whole and my journey back home.

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