Archive for February, 2011

PASS Program Committee Management Transparency


I occasionally get into trouble for thinking that no one cares what I’m (we’re) doing for PASS.  Frankly much of what I work on is BORING to a casual observer.  Im still not convinced anyone really cares about the minutiae that we have to deal with week in and week out on the Program Committee but, I don’t know if that’s just myself becoming desensitized to the amount & importance of what I (we) do.

My friend Andy Warren (Blog|Twitter) mentioned something the other day about their being minutes posted on the PASS site (somewhere) from the meetings that are held in relation to the SQL Rally.  In the Program Committee we’ve produced minutes for the meetings that we have for quite a long time (2+ years) and they were simply emailed about and stored on PASS’s intranet site, they’re mainly used for keeping track of deliverables.


Starting with our last meeting (first substantial meeting of 2011) Ive asked that we publish a copy of the minutes to the Program Committee webpage on the PASS site. Look near the bottom left of the page for the first meeting minutes.  At some point, we may have to look at separating the Program committee info from the actual speaker info on that page but, for now this was easy and took basically no extra work from HQ or anyone on the team.


So, the question is (and I rarely get answers to questions in a blog post): Other than to be able to say, yes we publish those minutes, does anyone even care?  Will anyone read them with any regularity?  Ive personally never looked at the Rally minutes, so I’m thinking its not going to be that valuable..  I agree that in general transparency is a good thing but, to a point like this I wonder if anyone out there cares.

Information overload

We will meet bi-weekly for the next 6 or so weeks but from that point on we usually meet weekly, and often a few times a week when crunch time hits.  As you can imagine, that creates a huge amount of minutes.  I hope that we dont wind up burying good information people might want to see simply because we meet so often.

PASS needs you

   Photo Thanks to  bgottsab

Help Wanted Apply Within

Help wanted Needed!!

This year my portfolio within the PASS board is “Summit program and speaker management”  Ive been involved with this portfolio for at least the last 4 years.  This year, I’m going to be transitioning into yet a different roll within the committee.  Ill still be heavily involved but,  I’m turning the majority of the day to day decision making over to Lori Edwards (Blog|Twitter)  She was hugely involved last year, and I have no doubt she will work her magic again this year!

Program Committee Changes

This year, there are going to be some changes to the processes in the program committee, Ill detail some of those in a later set of blog posts.  For now, Ive decided to split up the groups of volunteers in the program committee to hopefully enable some of the future process changes.

Help Wanted

For this year we’re going to need help in many areas

Abstract Review Teams (led by Lori Edwards)

  • DBA/Cloud/BI/AD/PD

Speaker Review Team (led by Tim Ford)

  • This group will review speakers independently of their abstracts

Speaker Enhancement team (Wes Brown & Grant Fritchey)

  • This will probably stay a small group and work on updating sample abstracts, selection info, generating info for new speakers etc.

PPT/Abstract Editing review/approval (Led by Tim Martin)

  • This group will be working on sessions after they are accepted (lots of new ideas here)

Special Projects (Led by AJ Mendo & Lance Harra)

  • This group will be working on finishing the Speaker Evaluation tool, coordinating changes to the Summit online tool as well as a few other projects that are envisioned.

Cutting edge

Its been said that what we do in the Program committee is on the bleeding edge of what PASS does in organizing groups of volunteers at the national level.  That is to say, we need lots of help but, sometimes things dont always work out quite how we (I) had expected.  I say this only to set expectations that its not always a smooth ride but, rarely is it not interesting.

We developed an online survey to help us capture all of the relevant info about everyone who wants to volunteer.  Don’t worry, its not a job app and it shouldn’t be resume quality, we’re primarily looking for general information

Please consider this a personal invitation from me to join us in making the content at the PASS Summit 2011 the best ever!

Database Automagic


This months TSQL Tuesday is hosted by a good friend Pat right over at  SQL Asylum

For this months entry I decided to keep it short and sweet, following in my Bits N Bytes theme.

The Meta Script

In the true sense of the word automation, this really doesn’t fit but, in the terms of quickly getting something done that would otherwise be a mundane repetitive task, this can save a world of time.

Lets say we have a list of objects in the Sales Schema and we have a request to grant Select and Insert access to a user for those objects.  There are two approaches, 1 is to grant select and insert to the actual schema like this


However you might decide that you only want to grant direct SELECT and INSERT on the tables that exist in the DBO Schema today not those tables which may be created in the future (auditors love to make us do this)

A simple way to automate granting these rights is by writing a script that writes a script like so

‘GRANT SELECT, INSERT ON ‘ + + ‘.’ + + ‘ TO BusinessUser’
   FROM sys.all_objects obj JOIN sys.schemas sch

    ON obj.schema_id = sch.schema_id

  WHERE = ‘Sales’
  and obj.type = ‘U’

This should give you a result set that looks something like the following:

GRANT SELECT, INSERT ON Sales.People TO BusinessUser
GRANT SELECT, INSERT ON Sales.Sales TO BusinessUser

At this point, run the output in a separate command window and viola you’ve automated that grant of permissions

This may not be true “automation” in the sense that Pat was looking for but, perfecting the ability to write scripts that write scripts is a huge timesaver

What’s important in a Summit Location


I thought after my last post on Summit location that I wouldn’t need to write anymore about it but, I got a couple of responses(questions) wondering what I thought was important in a location for the summit. What I’m guessing these people really want to know is where Ill vote for, not, what I already wrote about which is what I’m essentially voting against.

Well, I’m not going to go so far as to say exactly where I’d like to see the Summit.  What I will do is list what I think are the top 3 most important things when looking at where to locate the summit.

  1. Accessibility – It needs to be as easy as possible to get to, as well as get around once you get there.  Both the city as well as the Convention Center should be easily accessibilty
  2. Cost – The convention center needs to be reasonably priced, the hotels, food, etc should all be (somewhat) affordable
  3. Local Support – I would prefer a location with a very strong local support structure, whether Microsoft or the local SQL Community.

There are many additional variables that no doubt will be considered but, these are the things that make the top of my list.

Why I will vote to move the PASS Summit in 2013


Oh no, not again!

Seems not a day goes by that I dont have a discussion somewhere with someone about the Summit Location in 2013 or 2014, or even occasionally about the location this year and next.

If you need background, a couple of my PASS BOD Cohorts have already weighed in on the various ways they are thinking about this decision Here, Here, or Here, additionally Grant Fritchey and Andy Leonard both weighed in as well.  Much additional conversation seems to happen regularly on twitter as well…

Ive been a member of the PASS Board for exactly 35 days and so far I’ve really only been shocked by one thing.  Its almost beyond baffling to me that the #1 issue the SQL community wants the Board (and PASS by proxy) to solve is the location of the 2013 Summit.  Honestly, I can think of at least 10 things that are more important for PASS to be focusing energy on than where the Summit is going to be located.  But, alas that clearly illustrates that it is a VERY important issue to many community members

I want to be perfectly clear

The location of the 2013 Summit has not been decided yet

The decision is expected to be made in the March BOD meeting.

This post wont go into all the 1000’s of ways a person could look at this issue, and trust me there’s more than 1000.  Instead I’m going to tip my hand, and skip all the mumbo jumbo because I believe everyone on the Board already knows how I feel about this issue.  So the only possible people who dont know are the 2 of you reading this.

I will vote to move the Summit out of Seattle in 2013

Now that the beans have been spilled (no big shocker there I hope) id like to at least outline how I’ve come to this decision so hopefully you can agree or disagree with me but, at least respect that the reasons are my own, and that I believe they represent whats best for the organization as a whole.

First a tiny caveat – yes I’m putting the fine print first, its important — If by some freakish accident there is no conference space available (within a reasonable $$ limit) in the finalist cities then I may be forced to do something different.  — that fine print is merely the DBA in me practicing for every possible outcome in a disaster.  Even though I dont plan for it, I cant ignore it might happen.

  • A large portion of the community feels so strongly about this that many feel almost disenfranchised by the very group that they have been an integral part of.
  • PASS’s #1 Mission is to serve the community, how better than to occasionally have THE SQL Server Event of the year in a location thats more accessible to different parts of the country
  • Microsoft has pledged their Support for the conference no matter its location
  • To the average “newish” DBA the difference between having 150 MS people at the Summit and 400 is nearly nonexistent
  • We’ve moved The Summit before, this isn’t unprecedented, PASSHQ is easily able to do this, the procedures should already exist.
  • My portfolio (Summit Program) would likely be the most effected by this change.  Maybe marketing would have a large impact as well but, as far as BOD work, Program would likely take the brunt of a move.
  • If the majority of the Microsoft presence is traveling, they wont have their homes to sneak off to at 5:00. so they would presumably be more likely to continue to interact after Summit session hours
  • Selfish Reason — Moving the summit would force Microsoft to lock in their speaker lineup earlier which would make my job coordinating that easier

Now for the limits of my support

  • I think the Summit should be in Seattle more often than not, say 2 out of every 3 years or 3 out of every 4.  Based almost entirely on SQL release cycles
  • Until it proves detrimental to the organization — I am a risk taker by nature, as evidenced by living on an island in the path of hurricanes (site of the worst US natural disaster ever) but, everyone has their limits

Id like to take a second and ask you Mr. or Mrs. SQL Community Member reading this to do me a personal favor.  Find one of those “other” really important things you wish PASS was better at, something we should be focusing on, and leave a comment here or send me a message in email or twitter about it and sling out some ideas, or better yet solutions!!  Approach that with the same level of enthusiasm as the Summit location and we should be able to get some real movement on other things that are important to the community.  If I get any responses to those “other things” Ill build them all into a a future blog post and make sure they get some attention.

I wrote the above mainly so the community that elected me to lead would know that I’ve spent a long time listening and trying to come up with a decision on this.  Now with this decision behind me, I can move on to worrying about other PASS (Community) business without the community wondering if I’ve been paying attention.

Go to Top