Archive for year 2011

PASS Summit Top Sessions Redux


This will be a quick update to my post from earlier this week.  As I mentioned previously, PASS has plans to do away with all paper evaluation forms in the future.  This change can come none to soon for me!  After I published Fridays blog, I was contacted by a speaker who had some evaluations in their report that obviously werent theirs.  So, after some digging, the staff at PASS HQ figured out that during data entry several evals were incorrectly included under this speakers session id.  We corrected the scores and doing so caused the overall “top 10” to change slightly.  The updated top sessions with ties is now actually a top 12 list where before it was actually a top 11.  Additionally doing this updated the track rankings in the BIA track as well.  I apologize for the mix up on these evals but, I guess this is not totally unexpected when hiring temporary workers to enter 8,000+ individual evals.  The updated rankings can be found here

Best Presentations From PASS Summit 2011

Every year after the Summit the results of the thousands of evaluations are tabulated.  It seems every year the only question I hear after the summit is “when are the evaluations coming out?”  Well dear reader I’m happy to say, that day is today.  First id like to point out that this year we had well over 13000 unique session evaluations which is an increase of about 30% over 2010.

Online Evaluations produce unexpected results

One interesting thing I noticed in this years online evals was that we received evals for all sorts of “events” that happened at the Summit.  Normally, we only get them for sessions but because of the way the session scheduler was automated and integrated into the session eval forms, we actually received evals on many other events that took place at the summit other than regular sessions.  Receiving candid feedback on these events was quite refreshing and will be worked back into next years similar events. 

Moving into the 21st century

This year since we offered online evaluations as well as paper evaluations I was interested to see what the turnout would be and while the amount of paper vs online evaluations entered was more lopsided towards paper than I’d have liked.  I believe that overall they were well used and next year we plan on only having online session evals.  I expect that if the room monitors push the online evals in the same manner they pushed the paper this year that we’ll get enough evals next year for this to be an effective option.  The real benefit other than costs of entering paper evals and killing trees is that if all of the evals come in a digital form I would see no reason that they shouldn’t be ready either real time or within a week or 2 from the end of the event but, Ill leave those details to next years Board member whose in charge of the Summit.   

Without Further ado, Here’s the link to the 2011 Summit top 10 list 

The top ten was calculated by averaging all of the evaluation answers then we excluded results if there were less than 20 evaluations or 20 attendees.

Also, if you were a speaker, You can log into the PASS Speaker portal site and get your full evaluation results (and the overall event scores) from the following link

Please join me again in congratulating all of the speakers from this years Summit, without them and their excellent contributions our community wouldnt be the same. 


Edited-> I had the wrong filter criteria on our exclusion of sessions from the top list specification.  I stated we excluded if there were less than 10 evals and 10 attendees when the number was 15 each, I apologize for my fading memory.

PASS pass and more PASS

As I sit writing this post I realize that in a weeks time Ill be in Seattle at the 2011 PASS Summit.

Like most in the SQL community who are fortunate enough to attend the annual summit I am looking forward to next Sunday.  But, unlike most I am probably looking forward to this years summit for slightly different reasons. I’m definitely ready for the plethora of sessions, the great networking and all of the regular things everyone looks forward to (SQLKARAOKE!) but, when you are as heavily involved as I am in leading the Summit Program Committee, just getting it “started” is a huge relief.

For the last four years Ive looked forward to the Sunday before the Summit like ive looked forward to no other Sunday of the year.  However this year is going to be different!  This year will be my last year of leading the Summit “Program Committee”.  Its truly bittersweet for me as Ive really loved doing this but Its time for me to focus on doing other things for our great community.

I plan on handing the reigns of the summit over to _____ after the end of this years Summit.  I wish I knew who was taking over so I could tell you, but as it is no one has volunteered and PASS doesn’t exactly have a structure in place to allow for transnational hand off(more on this later).  I wish I could say it will be all Rainbows and Unicorns for the next person leading the program committee but, the reality is it is a lot of work.  The payoff is quite large though in knowing that you lead a group of 30ish volunteers to do a large portion of the work in making the summit a success but, even with a dedicated support staff (PASSHQ) its still a challenge.  After doing every job from the bottom to the top of this small piece of PASS I  feel like ive literally “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”

I’d guess Ive spent at least 10 hours a week on average working on the Summit for the last several years and this year I added on regular PASS Board member tasks and am regularly exceeding those 10 hours a week, unfortunately, its just not sustainable for me any longer.  Im happy to spend the time for the community but, Its time for a new challenge and fortunately being on the PASS Board affords me all of the community challenges I could ever need (including figuring out to handle transition within PASS mentioned earlier). 

If you spot me at the Summit, feel free to stop over and introduce yourself, I promise not to try and convince you to volunteer to take my PASS job!

Meme Monday — Favorite PASS Memory — Shared Experiences

Tom (Blog|Twitter) Asked about our favorite PASS memories for this months post.  With all that I have going on trying to get the Schedule out for this years Summit, I hadnt planned on writing anything this month but I just read Grant Fritchey’s excellent post and it struck me that I really should write about this one.  You see, one of the most interesting things about his post was I actually remember about 90% of the things he mentions. 

My favorite PASS memory isnt actually a single memory at all, its actually the conglomeration of all the SHARED experiences I have with all the hundreds(?) of people that I have gotten to know rather well over the years.  One of the most important things about our community of SQL professionals that I can never seem to put into words are those “Shared experiences”, they are what makes us unique.  Some first timers will listen to the conversations and think “what in the world is so funny” or “really, did that actually happen” or more likely, “what in the heck are they talking about” and I can see that there would be some intimidation factor with that but, the reality is you just have to jump in and start making those shared experiences of your own.  While some of my favorite shared experiences are from 2004-2006 that doesnt mean that I dont have some great ones from 2010 with people I had just met.  My point really is those experiences (which un/fortunately become memories) whether made at the Summit, a SQL Rally, SQL Saturday, or a local UG meeting are the things that actually tie us together as a group of professionals.  Sure, we all talk SQL and geek about it but, without the shared experience factor we’d all just be names behind posts on a Newsgroup/Forum which wouldnt be nearly as much fun!  

just choose one

If I had to list a single memory though it would be from 2004, where it all started for me.  You see I had just met Pat Wright, and Tom Larock and somehow they convinced me to attend the early morning (7AM If I recall) PASS volunteer session.  Im not an early morning person AT ALL so I definelty felt some peer pressure to go but, I can honestly say sitting in that session hosted by Wayne Snyder has probably changed my professional career as much or more than anything else.  Wayne is a very dynamic speaker and he had us all believing we could change the world, or at least the SQL portion of it.  I really miss those sessions, and wish we could find a way to ressurect them because this introvert would have never become involved with PASS had it not been for that 1 single session (and the encouragement of Tom and Pat) Thanks to the 3 of you for that!

short PASS update aka coming out of hibernation

Its been too long since I updated this place….  I should apologize or make excuses but, I wont waste your time or mine thinking of them

This week is a busy week for 2011 Summit planning.  Some things need direct community participation and Id like to draw your attention to them

  • Lightning Talks (5 minute “mini sessions”) Call for speakers closes today at 6:59 UTC (11:59 Pacific)

If you have an idea that you’d like to talk about for 5 minutes, Id encourage you to submit.  These sessions were well received last year and I expect the same this year

The Summit schedule creator(s) will make extensive use of this to properly size the rooms for each session.  There is more art than science to building the schedule but, the more data we have the better.

Lots of hard volunteer work went into the forming of this years process.  Please support it by offering your time if you have it to give.

Last year PASS decided to invest in the development of our own tools to manage the educational portion of the summit.  This investment has proven to be an excellent idea as it has made running the program a lot simpler.  In the past we had 2 or 3 different tools to manage the summit and thats not including the massive amount of excel spreadsheets that were passed around.  This would create obvious problems when changes weren’t propagated through all the tools in the same way.  In prior years it was a herculean effort to get the Summit program handled on time, this year however it has been markedly easier.  Maybe its not herculean anymore but, its definitely still takes a great deal of effort from a large number of volunteers.  Additionally, the same system we are using for the Summit in 2011 was used for both SQL Rally’s so in that way, the data and use of the system should start to form one experience for the entire community (speakers, volunteers & attendees)  Sometimes its the small behind the scenes things that really make a difference on the admin side that the public may not see and in this case I cant say it enough how thankful I am the past PASS BOD made that decision to invest.

As part of this tools upgrade, we are able to do some interesting things that we may not otherwise be able to do like…

Produce an OData “feed” of event sessions

If your familiar with OData you can try it out here

If you want to see the Summit 2011 Sessions for instance, try this link. Feel free to give it a try and let me know if you see any issues, but note the sessions arent scheduled yet so those data elements wont be correct

Hopefully having a service like this will open up the data enough that it will be useful to someone out there.  We have several internal uses planned for this feed including updating the mobile application we trialed at the SQL Rally “guidebook”  Yes, we will have a fully functioning mobile application for this years summit (and most other PASS events shortly)

Hopefully Ill be able to keep this place updated with something relevant way more often

(edit: somehow I forgot the Nomcom!! oops)

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