Microsoft Project Mardi Gras DuckAnother successful The Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Congress has hit the books – but this year it was a little more “jazzed up” than usual.

The 2013 PMI® Global Congress drew in thousands to the Ernst N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, beginning on October 27th. When attendees were not exploring the French Quarter or experiencing the world wonder that is Bourbon Street, they were listening to their peers talk about the core features and emerging challenges of the project management profession.

MPUG was there of course, hanging out with Microsoft in the Exhibit Hall for the three-day conference. Attendees that were fortunate enough to stop by the booth not only had the chance to meet most of the MPUG team, but also received a copy of MPUG’s newest Custom Formula Guide – brought to you in part by Ira Brown from Project Widgets.

The nearby Microsoft Project team came well-prepared to answer any questions or demo their newest Project 2013 software. Microsoft was also a Platinum Sponsor for the event, hosting an exciting reception at Mardi Gras World on Monday night. Attendees paraded down to the warehouse to see the famous Mardi Gras floats, enjoy a taste of authentic New Orleans cuisine, and network with other professionals over some light jazz and dancing. Microsoft’s unique Mardi Gras-themed rubber ducks were a hit giveaway at the event, putting a cherry on top of a successful night.

Kirk Vantine and Larry Christofaro PMIGC 2013

Many favorite moments from the conference came from the excellent line-up of keynote speeches. Congress attendee and MPUG Twin Cities Chapter Leader, Larry Christofaro, explained that his favorite session by far was Dr. John Grotzinger’s discussion about the Mars Land Rover and the infamous “seven minutes of terror” as Curiosity descended to Mars. “What a great project management feat involving over 200 engineers across 13 countries. I would have loved to see that project plan,” said Christofaro.

The 2013 PMI® Project of the Year Award was given to the Adelaide Desalination Project on Saturday night. The project addressed a growing water shortage crisis emerging in South Australia in 2008. Project leaders were able to get all contracts in place in less than 12 months, resulting in a successful implementation of a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant by June 2012. Nemours Children’s Hospital and the Savannah River Site Recovery Act Project were also finalists this year.

Roy Pool and Matt Cheatham Blues BrothersFinally, for all those who wanted to have a fun Blues Brothers experience tied into one of their educational sessions, PMI® gave them with Roy Pool and Matt Cheatham. Roy and Matt performed “A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to Project Completion,” to an enthusiastic crowd on Sunday, complete with rock and roll songs, sunglasses, and fedoras.

For all those who were not able to attend this year, you were missed! But mark your calendars, because PMI® Global Congress 2014 in Phoenix is already in the works!