Archive for July, 2010

More on PASS Summit Community Choice sessions & a general PASS update

More on PASS Summit Community Choice sessions  

Last week I posted about letting the PASS membership select 4 of the Community sessions to be presented at this year’s North American Summit.  As with most things I’ve touched lately, the devil is in the details.  I have been working with PASS HQ quite a lot to get this process all ironed out.  As of today, We are expecting the emails with all of the details to go out in the first part of next week.  One of the last minute *details* we’ve had to account for is related to asking community members to vote in the 4 different categories, it turns out we aren’t able to require it to work that way.  The short reason why is because of the way the PASS voting solution is designed (remember, its actually designed for voting in the upcoming BOD election)  We cant have 4 separate categories and allow you to vote only in 1 each.  While we are still separating the sessions into categories and asking you to vote on each one separately, we wont be able to enforce it.  As it turns out, its not that big of a change and even if our members choose to cast their votes all in the same category, their votes will simply be cancelled out since we are going to choose the highest vote getter in each of the categories.  So start watching those email boxes for more detailed information!

Other PASS goodness

Summit Selection Process follow-up meetings, since shortly after the community selection process finished, I have been on phone conferences with the selection teams for feedback about the entire selection process.  These meetings have been going great, and overall the feedback was extremely positive, both about the process and the volunteer experience in general.  That’s not to say the team members weren’t critical of a few hiccups we experienced but overall it was good.  In these meetings nothing was off-limits, and I got some GREAT new ideas that should really improve a few of the key procedural pieces of the process.  Many of the technological limitations and issues we knew about going into the selection but, with all the timelines, we just couldn’t get changes made quick enough.  Since PASS is building a summit management tool for 2011, we should have many of those technology issues behind us for the start of next year’s selection process.  All in all, It always helps us to get feedback about the selection as soon as its over while its still fresh in everyone’s minds.  the #1 piece of feedback that kept recurring is: Communication is key.  What I have taken from this is that even if you think everyone’s on the same page, its often ok to ask again if there are any questions, better safe than sorry.

Microsoft Speaker selections, Ive been doing this for the last 4 years and this year was the first year where I felt like we (the community team) have been actively engaged with the Microsoft Selection process, we’re still trying to figure out how all the different pieces fit together and where we can add value and community feedback into their processes.  So far things are working better than I expected but not as good as I’d like.  Seems to be the story of my life these days!!!  All of this is great news for the community since it will produce a better Summit but, its been bad news for myself and  the other volunteers working on it.  For me, being the pseudo ring leader, Its just 1 more thing added to an already full plate this time of year. From the day the call to speakers is announced to the date the summit actually starts, is when things get pretty hectic with the Program Committee, there are always a few “regularly scheduled items” that have to be completed by certain deadlines not to mention the things that go BOOM.  The regular scheduled stuff isnt a big deal, the BOOM’s on the other hand, lets just say Disaster Recovery planning isn’t just for Databases or Computers, it is valuable in most any important process.

Community Choice Sessions at the PASS Summit 2010

Its Still Alive

Yes this blog is still alive!  I recently had some hard decisions to make with regards to what I needed to drop in order to get at least 3 hours of sleep in a night.  And unfortunately for the 3 of you that read my blog, it was the blog that lost that battle.  I should be getting back in the habit of writing now that the biggest crunch time for the program committee at the PASS Summit is over.

What happened?

Short answer : The PASS Summit speaker selection process. (Program Committee Manager role)

Longer yet short answer: The PASS Summit program committee leadership position is a very involved volunteer position, taking more hours of my time than I can count (Just ask my wife!!).  For the last month the 4 amigo’s (Jeremiah Peschka (Blog|Twitter) , Lori Edwards(Blog|Twitter), Elena Sebastiano (PASSHQ), and myself) have been working tirelessly towards the first goal of announcing the community sessions.  With that out of the way the PASS work doesn’t stop, we get to do other “fun” stuff.  Innovate with PASS if you like, because that’s what we’re going to try to do!!   

Community Choice Sessions

Ive talked about this before  and I’m happy to say, after quite a bit of work in ironing out the details, it is going to be a reality.  We’re in the process of building the pages, but I can already say that 20 Speakers are going to get a second chance at being selected to present one of their sessions at the Summit.   In order to make this happen, we went over the summit track selections, looking at alternates first, then other sessions that were ranked highly by the review teams.  We collected 20 sessions that we thought could fill in gaps in the educational offering, or that we thought deserved another look.  Essentially, we took the work the selection teams did and distilled it down to give the community 5 session choices in each of 4 different groups

We split up the sessions into 4 groups, 1 each for the tracks AD/BI/DBA and then added a fourth as a sort of menagerie containing sessions across all 4 tracks.  We plan on using the “PASS voting booth” to facilitate the voting in each category, so each “registered PASS Member” will have a vote for a session in each of the categories.  At the end of the voting period, the session in each category that has the most votes will be confirmed & put in the lineup to be presented at the 2010 PASS Summit in Nov.

Next week we should have all of the details finalized and Ill write more about it then but, for now be on the lookout for an email from PASS with more details about how you can help directly shape the sessions at the 2010 Summit.

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