Inside Mastering Power BI

Mastering Microsoft Power BI is now published. Packt has updated their store to note the new release and the final page count (638). Amazon is still showing June 11th but you should be able to order there too.

There was an emphasis on reflecting the latest features, the roadmap, and concepts which will remain applicable over time. However, given the release cycle and potential changes to the roadmap the book will naturally be a greater value now than in the future.

It's out now...
Mastering Microsoft Power BI
  • See the Mastering Power BI Update post for more details including table of contents.
  • Yana Berkovich, Microsoft MVP, contributed to Chapter 11 (Creating Power BI Apps and Content Distribution).
  • The Microsoft Power BI Cookbook, a large collection (750+ pages) of examples and patterns released in late September, has been well-received and is currently $59.99 on Amazon and Packt.

Physical copy:

Mastering Power BI

Two Target Personas

As Power BI continued to expand and mature in 2017, I thought the new book should target two primary personas – the BI manager and the BI developer:

  • The BI manager (or team) is interested in deploying Power BI within the organization but either is relatively new to the platform or has a few important questions, concerns, or doubts.
    • The manager want to understand how the components, both people (business and IT) and tools will work together in a managed and governed environment.
    • Prior to broader deployment and adoption, companies want to address several important questions and concerns:
      • “Are we missing something that puts our data at risk, or wastes money and/or resources?”
      • “Is this approach or design going to be scalable?”
      • “Is this the best practice or standard way of doing X, Y, Z (e.g. data models, reports, dashboards)?”
      • “How will or can we balance and manage both self-service BI with enterprise or organizational BI?”
      • “What questions should we be asking as we engage the business team(s) to start a new project, deploy the On-Premises gateway, or create app workspaces?”
      • “Are there some options to handle both of these scenarios (e.g. on-premises and cloud; paginated and interactive) concurrently?”
      • “What are some differences and considerations with using Azure Analysis Services and SQL Server Analysis Services to support our deployment?”
      • The list goes on…including Power BI Premium, Azure Active Directory, usage monitoring, and more…
  • The BI developer experienced in authoring reports and models or building data movement and transformation processes wants to contribute to Power BI teams and projects.
    • The BI developer wants to understand how the layers of Power BI technology work together and be in a position to contribute in multiple areas.
      • For example, a developer normally builds data models and writes DAX measures but wants to at least be comfortable with data connectivity and transformation (Power Query Editor, M queries) and report design/development features and processes.
      • Likewise, a report developer wants to become stronger with designing dashboards and packaged apps of content for distributing content in the Power BI service.
    • In many cases a BI developer needs to become a BI administrator/manager, at least temporarily, and vice versa, so I wanted the book to help support this scenario.
      • “Am I using the right tool for this job/scenario?”
        • “Should I be using DAX, M, SQL? for this column”
        • Should we build this into the data warehouse, or handle it in the Power BI dataset, or in the Power BI report?”
      • “Are there items I can look at to improve performance or reduce the query workload?”
      • “Which visuals and layout should I consider for dashboards?”
        • Why choose the Power KPI visual or how/why to build data alerts into the solution.
      • “How can I work within my team of BI developers and logically divide up the different areas of the project?”

Similar to some of my more popular blog posts there are many numbered lists and tables/matrices that help either walk through a process or compare two to items. I tried to be very detailed and practical but also provide hypothetical scenarios and supporting explanations that would guide the developer or manager in one of multiple directions.

Many Resources to Choose From

Realistically, if you’re seriously committed to Power BI as at least a meaningful part of your BI and Analytics architecture, then you’ll be utilizing several resources to help guide you over time. This list of resources includes the Power BI Blog, Power BI Documentation, whitepapers, webinars, Guy In a Cube, and you may reach out to a Power BI Partner organization for various consulting, delivery and training engagements.

Additionally, there are forums, blogs, and other Power BI related books with valuable information. My two books are very broad and thus, though I go fairly deep into certain areas, depending on your scenario you may want a dedicated book or other resource on one specific topic. Moreover, these other resources may offer an additional or alternative perspective or guidance which you can contrast with anything I’ve written and determine what makes the most sense for you.

It’s not the aim of Mastering Power BI to be a definitive or exclusive guide to developing Power BI content or deploying Power BI for an organization. However, I believe it can be a valuable resource on many topics and I appreciate the opportunity from Packt to write it. As mentioned before I’m taking some time away from writing and will be focused on my consulting work after the events in April (Data & BI Summit) and May (SQL Saturday New York City).


  1. Hi Chris. I love this book. It hits all the right spots for me, filling in topics that other leading PBI books either missed or only briefly discussed. 5 Stars from me! I do have a question for you. In Chapter 5 working with a live connection you state that measures can be created using the modeling tab. In my case the new measure icon is grayed out. The live connection I use is to SQL Server Analysis Services database. Is it possible that this feature is not available for this service or that my IT administrators turned off the ability to create a measure?


    1. Thanks Adam –

      My name is Brett (not Chris) – I’m glad you like the book. The reason that the New Measure icon is grayed out is because your SSAS database is a multidimensional database, not a tabular database. Report level measures in Power BI are not supported for multidimensional databases.

      Tabular mode is the default install for Analysis Services. This is the same mode used in Power BI (Desktop and Service), Power Pivot for Excel, and Azure Analysis Services is also exclusive to Tabular mode. For these reasons, when I refer or write about Analysis Services, I’m referring to Tabular mode unless I explicitly reference multidimensional mode. Multidimensional mode is certainly not going away any time soon but for several years Microsoft has been investing in Tabular related technologies and thus there are many reasons (beyond report level measures in Power BI) to consider switching over from multidimesional to tabular.



  2. I must have confused you with Chris Webb. I’m more than a little embarrassed. 🙂 Thanks for the quick reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s