Schedule building tips from speaker and president of The Krewe, Michael Bender

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Updated April 16 at 10:18 AM with link to Michael's Schedule in MyIgnite.

Michael is a passionate networker and community builder. He is the president of The Krewe, a world-wide networking group for IT Pros and Developers, and can usually be found connecting with IT Professionals while enjoying a local craft brew. He's a fulltime instructor at Madison College in Madison, WI as well as a 3-time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.

We asked Michael to share how he creates his own session schedule for Ignite, and he writes:

I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on schedule building as well as my plan last year. For this year, things are much the same except I really need to dive into Windows 10 as well as Office 365. That said, many of my selections will be based on that as well as others that peak my interest.

So I built my schedule for Ignite based on a few tenets...

  • I support my friends and industry colleagues 120% in everything they do so I try to attend their sessions whenever possible.
  • I have the time after Ignite to watch the stuff I NEED to know so I make sure to fill in sessions by my favorite speakers like Mark Minasi, Jeffrey Snover, and Mark Russinovich. They always bring it during their sessions and it's great to see all of them live. Unfortunately, some of my favorite speakers like Don Jones, are not speaking at Ignite so I'll just have to share a cocktail with Don!
  • Even though my primary function at the college is teaching Windows Server, I see the need to really expand my skill set. I think Office 365 and Windows are where I need to focus right now so I'm building my schedule to help with that area.
  • I'm going to try some instructor led labs...Past experience with this has been OK.
  • I ALWAYS reserve the right to bail out to a Hallway session at any time. If I have a chance to meet with friends, vendors, or Microsoft peeps, I'll take those opportunities over a session anytime.
  • I revise my schedule daily depending on what I'm interested in at the time. What I mean is that I may have seen a session that is like "WOW...I need to know more" so I'll make a game-time decision to add something related. Also, I often like to attend sessions with friends so I may jump into a non-scheduled session with a friend if nothing in my current schedule is important.
  • I double and triple booked some time frames in case I need a backup. It's always the case where I have blanks in my schedule and I'm 3x or 4x scheduled. That just seems to be how it works for me (and many people I know).
  • With the Ignite being 5 days, you need to make sure to pace yourself if you are getting information overload. If you've reached "Full", it might be a good time to hit the expo, grab a nap before "Evening Sessions", or enjoy the city of Chicago. Remember, they are recorded so don't feel bad if you need to take a break.
  • Another thing to remember when scheduling: If it is in your schedule, you have a place to go to review the ones you want to re-watch or watch for the first time. Beats searching through 600+ sessions.

Taking these into account, here's how I built my schedule...

  • I scheduled all sessions based on speakers I want to see and friends. I've got sessions from Mark Minasi, Jeffrey Snover, Todd Klindt and Christian Buckley locked in just to name a few.
  • I searched by Office 365 and Windows 10. Reviewing and adding all sessions that sound interesting and what I want.
  • I searched by Time Slot
  • I used IT Influencers and Implementers as an Audience. This is the new 'IT Pro' Category.

See you in Chicago! - Michael Bender

Michael Bender's personal Tech blog:


I Am Krewe website:



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