Webinar 11/13: Advanced data prep with Power BI dataflows for unified data and powerful insights

Look at the all new Power BI dataflows with Program manager Anton Fritz

Power BI dataflows’ public preview is just around the corner, in this session the product team will introduce you the new and advanced capabilities for data-prep in Power BI.  Preparing and defining ETL for insights is significant challenge for businesses today—ingestion, cleansing, transformation, and enrichment are labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks, which require deep technical skills. Power BI now introduces advanced data prep with dataflows—a suite self-service low-code/no-code features and capabilities for business analysts to easily process and unify their data and store it in Azure-based data-lake storage. With these new capabilities, Power BI offers a solution for any business need—whether you want to prep your data with ease, using a familiar built-in Power Query experience, or to leverage the full Azure stack for more advanced use-cases. Join this session to learn how to easily prep your data, leverage Microsoft’s standardized schema, improve time-to-value, eliminate data silos, and create one source of truth for your organizational insights

When: 11/13 8:00AM PST

Where: https://community.powerbi.com/t5/Webinars-and-Video-Gallery/10-23-18-Webinar-Advanced-data-prep-with-Power-BI-data-flows/m-p/534100

About Anton Fritz

Anton is an experienced program manager, nowadays focused on delivering innovative problem detection capabilities in cloud applications and infrastructure monitoring domain, leveraging machine learning and data mining technologies. Before coming to the Power BI team Anton worked on the Azure Monitoring team, working on advanced detection and diagnostics capabilities powered by ML algorithms for monitoring hybrid workload environments.

Creating the perfect MVP Summit

Was asked to share some thoughts on creating the Perfect MVP Summit.

Every year we ask MVP’s what they want from the MVP Summit and every year the answers are the same:

  • Insight into the product planning

  • Connection with the product team members

Despite this incredibly simple set of directives we still manage to get this turned around.

Luckily for my MVPs I am an incredibly simple person <grin>.

Let’s start with some anti-patterns I see some of my very smart peers doing:


Having dedicated much of my career to ensuring the community has a voice at Microsoft why the HELL would i suggest this?

Three fold reasons to not do this:

  1. They have asked to see the product plans…how the heck will they know this?
  2. The MVPs will often ask for technologies we aren’t working on…PG* presentations on these topics are waste everyone’s time
  3. With a 100+ MVPs per track guaranteed they won’t get the content they NOW EXPECT and it is a little like burning presents from under a Christmas tree!


These events are used by marketing to convey a picture of how we WANT the technology to be perceived today…

Image result for marketing reality tree swing

Versus the engineering strategy at Microsoft is what we EXPECT the industry need will be in 5 years.  Most engineering efforts will have large feature efforts in ares we haven’t shipped and the MVPs have never seen…

Our internal conference called TechReady may be a better model/resource but using it can other cause anti-patterns



For most conferences preparedness will directly translate to success…why not here?

LESS is More Seriously,

Feature PMs are hired create and ship features (duh) not presentations, so if you hound them into getting you a slide deck early you will likely get some variant of their TechReady, Ignite or BUILD sessions last delivered AND they are vested into presenting AT the MVPs…Exactly what you don’t want.  If you let them run down their own clock they have two choices blow the dust off those presentations anyway or what you want to encourage: Export their backlog to Excel (this what they are working on day in and day out) and pull out their in-flight Storyboards and have a conversation around the stack ranking of the backlog use the storyboards on what they thing implementation could look like.   This very raw delivery ALWAYS be appreciated more AND adds more value to the to the feature team.   Brian Harry is an amazing example of delivering the best MVP sessions…and pretty certain all of his content was created the morning of his sessions.  (remember: never ask questions you do not want the answers to)

So How do I create my MVP Summit agenda? 

Any any organization you are going to have the VP/ or Principal PM; who i typically refer to as: “Da Boss”…This is your track kick off (or track Keynote for lack of a better term).  Da Boss’s session will be to level set how these fit together and the world we see in 5 years.  Under them they will have less then a dozen Group Program Managers who will own 1-2 feature areas under active development…This is your agenda.


Image result for sudoku


The difficulty arises in picking the right presenter(s) and giving them the correct amount of time.   If you have 20 sessions and 20 feature areas it seems like an easy Sudoku exercise….Unfortunately the world isn’t that easy in the investment of TWO feature may make up ~30% of the dev resources and future investment…and the MVP Summit agenda should reflect that!


Area Point Allocation
Keynote/Level Set Arun 2
Dataflow Adi 3
Desktop Kim 2
Service Adam 2
Premium Josh 2
Gateway & Connectors Mahesh 2
AI Richard 2
Flow Stephen 1
PowerApps Ryan 0.5
CDS Ryan 0.5
Excel Ash 1
RS Chris .5
Embedded Nimrod 0.5
Custom Visuals Ranin 0.5
SSAS Christian 1

To be continued!


Best Practices

  • *MVP to MVP Day
  • Office Hours
  • Stream the content
  • Conversations over parties
  • MVP In Residence
  • If you are going to do surveys PLEASE ACTION THEM


MVP to MVP Day

This is a day that the MVPs organize and deliver the content for.  This way they get to share best practices and cover topics we aren’t actively working on.

…Always interesting to have MVPs deliver to Microsoft best practices for features we had built!

Office Hours

While we try and make the normal agenda be a conversation the reality it is about OUR plans/intentions.  This time is dedicated to an open exchange on those topics in a 1:Few setting

Stream the content

With today’s legislation some of my MVPs can not get into the US for this event.  Streaming is no harder than setting up a web cam and sending a skype meeting request.

…I typically put an MVP on point for making sure the Camera is pointed in the right-ish direction but this is NOT hard nor expensive!


To be continued….



Creating a new Azure Active Directory and AAD backed Accounts

For teaching classes or testing access to many Microsoft services is it common to need a new AAD backed account.

Turns out this is both free AND easy as 1-2-3.


Step 1.  Create a new Azure Active Directory.

Log in with any Microsoft Account..If you don’t have one they are also easy to create and can be created here: https://account.microsoft.com/account?lang=en-us. 

Navigate to Azure Portal at and select the Active Directory blade and select “Create New Directory” the direct link is:


Step 2.  Navigate to Users in Active Directory

In the Active Directory blade select “All users” and then “New User”

Step 3. Create your Test User.

Under the new user dialog fill out their name and user name.  For many use cases like teaching classes, if you need to create hundreds or thousands you can do this via PowerShell as described here:  https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/charles_sterling/2015/06/29/creating-users-in-an-azure-ad-in-bulk/

10/11 Webinar: How to use Power Query and M to create calendar tables with Tristan Malherbe

Calendar tables are an absolute requirement for time-intelligence calculations and best practices in Power BI. In this week’s webinar Power BI MVP Tristan Malherbe will deliver a webinar on how to build a proper calendar table using Power Query and M language.  Demos to include building calendar tables from from scratch! 

Image result for Tristan Malherbe

When: 10/11/2019 10:00AM PST

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifi07EpRY4g 

Tristan Malherbe, a Power Microsoft MVP, a renowned Business Intelligence  Consultant at AZEO and President of the Power BI User Group in France.  As a PUG leader for Power BI in France, Tristan’s passion for the product comes from his interest in solving problems and creating user-friendly applications to support decision making, to analyse or visualise data.  Tristan frequently speaks at both international (PNW Data Symposium, London, Copenhagen, Dublin) and local conferences (Paris meetup, webinars) about advanced data analysis, modelling, and visualization on Power BI. ​

MVP In Residence 2.0?

While on the Visual Studio team a cool project that we ran with the MVPs was the MVP Intern program.  In this program, an MVP would come out and work with the product team to deliver some tool/feature/paper/template etc.  Willy-Peter Schaub and Ed Blankenship actually came out and lived in my house!

Reading an old post of mine on the topic: MVP in Residence- final recap (also included below for RSS readers) got me musing about if this make sense for my “Power MVPs”.  (we stopped this in Visual Studio when a physical visit was no longer needed to get these projects rolling and the “ALM Rangers” were born)

Having hosted three of these “residencies”  I can unequivocally say this is a great way to connect the MVPs with the product team and drive lots of positive behaviors while delivering cool projects.  To have a good residency a couple things really should intersect.

There be some “deliverable” at the completion.

Like any good project it should have measurable ROI and have value for all parties involved.

The project should be able to be used as billable time.

If this is the NOT case it is either eating vacation time or people are trying to juggle work and not really “present” much of the time.  Those people would continue to own their current deliverable.   The ideal scenarios has both Microsoft and the host employers splitting the hosting costs.  Often this also intersects with needing MVPs that being away from home isn’t a hardship.

Make a lasting positive difference in how that person works with us

Many MVP’s could come out and would focus 100% on a project but they when back home many would revert back to how/what they are doing now.

Collaboration between community and the product team becomes a de facto standard

While the physical visit may come to a conclusion the idea of collaborating on projects with the product team should continue – and hopefully continue investing in and bring other MVPs to help with.

Need to have a Microsoft Product owner as a sponsor that is passionate about getting a solution created.

Interestingly this seemed to be one of the largest hurdles!


Here are some projects that came to mind that may fit the bill

  • <code name of project removed> scaffolding
  • Power BI performance white paper
  • Admin white paper
  • Power BI End User Training “assets”
  • PowerApps/Power BI training/demo onboarding tooling


Also interestingly an unattended consequences of my earlier efforts: My “interns” ended up being hired by Microsoft.  (Not saying this is good or bad…Just is)


Including the original post from 2008

MVP in Residence- final recap

Last week one of the VSTS MVPs (Ed Blankenship) went WAY beyond the call of duty and spent his vacation time and frequent flyer points to fly himself to Redmond to spend a week on campus to deliver a VSTS community project(s)!  The three projects Ed was looking to tackle were:

1. Package the Microsoft Process Template we use internally with TFS to the world via codeplex..

2. Create a set of “on boarding” content for Visual Studio Team System 2010 for the User groups to redeliver.

3. Go through Team Lab “Walk through” document in preparation of releasing to the community.

From the outset there was never any expectation delivering all of these projects but by the end of the week Ed had finished both: The packaging of the Microsoft Process Template* AND the Tech Review of the Team Lab document.   The only reason multiple projects were even chosen was in the off chance one became blocked /or finished before the end of the week.

Overall both Ed and I felt the experience was very worthwhile and will be looking forward to doing it again.   (And yes I have already had a couple requests to do this by other MVPs and influentials.)


While the delivery of the Microsoft Process Template to the community will be a great win, I feel the highlight of the week was having one of the MVPs, own and deliver a Microsoft project through Microsoft’s processes/channels– and well worth the estimated ~6 hours it took of my time to make this happen.

On a personal note Ed will be the fourth MVP we have had stay with us at the house since we have moved back to the USA (Tiago Pascoal, Grant Holliday and Anthony Borton were the first three). I must admit growing our ever expanding extended family since returning has been nice and they have been a good surrogates for our foster children in Australia.

Low Lights/Lessons Learned

The largest challenge we faced was the 5 day time constraint of Ed’s visit– we had all the time commitments of a starting a new CSG employee: creating contracts, getting a new badge, allocating an office, getting a network account plus all the tax associated with kicking off three new projects.  So what would I do differently next time?

1. Decrease the administration setup time.  Ed didn’t get his Cardkey until Thursday!  I NOW know it is ONLY a TWO step process getting an MVP started.  ( I went through several different forms/process to figure this out)

    • · Microsoft E-Mail/Network Cardkey Access Agreement (ECA).  –Takes 1 business day to process (Could have been done before Ed arrived….)
    • · Headtrax Business guest account.  Takes 2 business days to process this after the ECA was FAXED in. (Again could have been in place before Ed arrived…)
  1. If possible extend the duration the MVP is here…in Ed’s case it wasn’t until Friday that he was driving his own schedule, scheduling meetings, finding meeting rooms working his way through bugs etc.
  2. Decrease the number of projects being worked on to just two.  While it was nice to have a two backups trying to kick off three projects pretty much guarantees too many meetings to get a lot of work done in a normal 8 hour business day for the first couple of days.

November 2018 Update Webinar for Power BI Embedding with Ted Pattison

Join Ted Pattison and Charles Sterling as they discuss the latest updates to the Power BI embedding features offered through the Power BI Service. Ted will also walk through how to leverage Power BI embedding techniques when developing single page applications (SPAs) with React.js and when developing React webparts with the SharePoint Framework.



When: November 6th 10AM PST

Image result for ted pattison

Ted Pattison is an author, instructor and owner of Critical Path Training (www.CriticalPathTraining.com), a company dedicated to education on Microsoft technologies including Power BI, SharePoint and Office 365. Ted has been speaking at conferences for over 20 years and is a regular speaker at users groups including the Power BI User Group which started in April of 2016. Ted also maintains several open source projects in GitHub including the SharePoint 2016 VM Setup Guide, The Online Virtual Classroom setup Guide and the Power BI Party Pack with sample data and code for demonstrations.