Posts tagged Big Ideas

Best of PASS Summit 2010


The results are in!!!



After tabulating over ten thousand distinct session evaluations for the 2010 PASS Summit we are pleased to release the top 10 sessions overall and the top 5 sessions per track.

What it feels like after doing this for a while

Getting these session results generated and out to the speakers in a timely manner is always challenging.  After taking until the second week of January 2010 to return Speaker Evaluations for the 2009 Summit we put in sweeping changes to prevent that from happening again in 2010.

Fortunately we were very successful in getting the data, We (Community Volunteers) designed and built a database to house the eval info, and designed a system that could be used to enter the evaluations quickly during and shortly after the Summit.  This was a resounding success.  Unfortunately where we fell short was in executing on delivering the data to the speakers and the community.  When we designed these systems, the process to send out the evaluations wasnt really discussed, or possibly just wasnt finished (the perils of distributing work include less insight into exact issues).  Either way, I wound up in the 23rd hour reworking last years SSIS package to fit the new database schema.

Success

We delivered Speaker evaluations to the speakers a full 3 weeks earlier than last year.  This included additional info about overall speaker scores that we had never provided in the past.  I realize a success to me (3 weeks sooner) is still a failure to others (4 weeks after the summit to get the data to the speakers)  We’re going to be working on improving this for next years summit but for now, Ill take the wins where I can get them!

Failure

Getting the top 10 sessions posted has taken an extra 3 weeks.  I take full responsibility on this one.  I had the data on my laptop for the entire time, at first it was the holidays, then it was something shiny, after that I kept running into issues trying to make queries that werent just usable for this years summit, but would be able to generate similar results for any event we enter into this database.  In the end though, I have a set of queries for this process that will be reused.

Future

This database/process was one of the projects a large group of OUTSTANDING Community members chipped in and worked on under the umbrella of the program committee in 2010.  I have big plans to round up another set of volunteers and put a web based front end on the db and push its use out to all SQL events that would like to use it.  The information that we’re gathering will be invaluable to both the speakers and to the community in the future.




Oh, Hey, Dear reader if you’re still reading this far into the babble I guess your looking for the Best of PASS Summit 2010 Link right?  Without further ado…..



http://www.sqlpass.org/events/bestofpasssummit2010.aspx


PS: No, Adam Machanic it didnt take 257 weeks to get this out 🙂

Please PASS the Awesomesauce

Recently, the 3 of you that read this stream of (un)consciousness may have noticed a lot of posts about PASS and the Board of Directors elections.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the news last Friday that I had indeed been elected to a 2 year term on the PASS board. 

I’d like to start by thanking everyone who voted, even if you chose not to vote for me.  We need more community involvement in all things PASS, and voting is a very important part of that! 

This election was not without its fair share of controversy and while overall it was a difficult process for the community to go through, I think a lot of good can result from it.  I hope that everyone who had an opinion about the “process” stays involved.  Staying involved & interested is the easiest way the community can shape the future of the organization. 

I’m very excited to have the opportunity to serve the SQL Server Community in a larger role than in the past.  As always, if you’ve got ideas feel free to send em to me.  I cant make any promises except that I will read and respond but, Im a fan of stealing borrowing others ideas for PASS and making them happen.

Other recent PASS info

Weve had a literal whirlwind of activity in the program committee leadership in the last month+  So, I thought I’d list some of the stuff thats been happening

Some highlights
  • We gathered a large group of volunteers to proofread abstracts before publishing in the program guide
  • Also, we hammered out all the details for 3 new session types for the Summit : Chalk talk sessions, Best of sessions, and lightning sessions
  • Published a Session preferencing tool to help us build a good schedule (awesome data gathered here!!)
  • We built the summit schedule – this is always fun, if you have any complaints, its on me
  • We gathered a team of volunteers  to review session powerpoints so I wont be doing them alone on the last day (YAY!) in doing this we updated the review guidelines to be more relevant/current
  • I had hoped we would nail down the Microsoft speakers & sessions a little better (earlier) this year but, it seems like we’ve been getting more changes & cancellations than Id have liked.
  • We worked on Coordinated with VC’s & pre/postconference speakers to try and setup livemeeting previews of their  sessions —  Marketing & free community education  –thats like Bacon wrapped Bacon Win-Win!
  • Lots of discussions with our Summit software vendor about availability of ppt updates, demos, etc during the summit.  Updates soon

 

Upcoming releases
  • The Summit Schedule builder *should* go live on Monday the 27th  Also,  realize this is an expected date but things occasionally happen so dont scream too much if its a lil late (or someone will let me know their displeasure with my tipping of the due dates)
  • Community experts summit session lists – we’ve asked some experts for their opinions about which sessions to attend, I cant wait to see what these lists look like!

 

Other Interesting Discussions happening
  • Whether we’re going to record/stream a session room at the Summit and what we’d do with those recordings
  • Whether we should switch back to 2 days of Preconference sessions or stick with 1 day pre and 1 day post
  •  Whether we should be providing desktops in the session rooms for speakers (most don’t seem to use them)
  •  PASSion award & expanding PASS’s recognition of outstanding volunteers at all levels

5 things I want to change while on the PASS Board

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last 3 or 4 months about “why” I wanted to run for the PASS Board.  I think I have finally come to the point where I can distill it down into a list of 5 specific things that I will work to make happen while on the PASS Board

5. Pass Summit location.  I believe that we can reach more of our membership by moving the location of the annual summit.  I like the idea of a 3 year rotation in Seattle.

4. Transparency.  I plan to continue the push for as much release of information as the community wants.  Particular things I’d like to see: full disclosure of individual BOD votes, more exposure of the Executive Committee “election process”

3. Better Chapter Support.  We need to do a better job at giving our chapter leaders what they need, some of the most frequently requested things on the chapter “needs” list could be completed more easily than many think if I can succeed with item #1 on this list.  I don’t necessarily want to “own” chapter support but, I think I can provide help to this group, especially where it lends itself to my strength in PASS : speaker management.

2. Professionalism.  I want our association to become more professional.  That is to say, to begin offering more than education as the primary benefit to membership.  I think there should be more benefit to being a PASS member than education & networking .

1. Community Involvement.  I want to get our volunteers engaged in as many processes and tasks as possible.  I’ve done what I consider to be a pretty good job at getting as many people involved in the program committee processes as reasonably possible, Id like to  expand that same involvement into all areas of PASS.  I wrote a lengthy reply on the PASS election forum about this subject, let me know what you think.

 

If you believe in these changes and you like how I communicate them, consider voting for me. I’m running for the PASS Board of Directors, and I need your help to make a difference.  Click here to read about why I’m running.

What I’m doing to evolve the Program Committee next

Since I wrote about how we’ve been evolving the Program Committee in the past, I thought Id write about some of the ways we’re trying to change the Program Committee in the future.

But first, I want to clarify something that someone else pointed out to me.  When I write about the Program Committee, I always say “We”.  When working on something as complex as the program for the summit, it is necessary to work as a very cohesive team.  This leadership team I am a part of is who makes all of the tactical decisions about the way we manage the education at the Summit.  I always refer to “us” as “we” because I cannot (and will not) take all of the credit for putting the Summit education together.  Without the team, the committee wouldn’t be half of what it is.  While I have been the overarching member of this team (the 1 they cant seem to run off) , the others are always there when we have work to do.  Well, except Jeremiah, He’s got this new gig where he’s a turtle hunter or something….

We’ve been working hard over the last 2 years to bring some exciting (well, exciting to me anyway) changes to the program committee.   A couple of these changes you should start seeing official announcements about any day now but, I decided to be a tease…

  • We’re going to be opening another limited call for speakers for a new session type
  • There are 2 new session types coming (well, 1 is a bit old but, its new & shiney)

Some additional thoughts I have about evolving this process are in no particular order

  • Expand the use of Community Choice Sessions to include pre/post conferences(1 or maybe more), Id love to even be able to give those who vote for the precon that is selected a discount code to use on that precon.
    • have a separate speaker review team that will rate/rank speakers across all tracks and sessions, so we can cut down on the differing ratings per speaker.
    • Allow that team to reject speakers without considering abstracts if they dont meet some predefined criteria (no exact ideas on those criteria yet)
    • Have a Virtual Chapter sponsored session category.  The initial idea is if a VC is active, (say has XX events a year) we allot them 1 speaker slot that they can then award to one of their best speakers (as they see fit within some reasonable framework).
    • Use the session evaluation tool for all PASS events (local, chapter, sqlsat, summit, rally)
    • Expand the feedback for speakers when we dont accept their presentation at the Summit.  Allow the review teams to leave free form comments, as well as a standardized reasons we’re using now

    If you believe in these changes and you like how I communicate them, consider voting for me. I’m running for the PASS Board of Directors, and I need your help to make a difference.  Click here to read about why I’m running.

    PASS Summit Community Choice Session results revealed

    This year the Program Committee decided to try something different to increase community involvement with the abstract selection process for the annual summit.  We decided to allow any registered PASS members to vote on the final  4 community sessions to be presented at the Summit in Seattle this year.  With our historically low turnout in surveys of our membership, I turned to the team at PASSHQ with a simple question about whether or not we could use the same voting tool that is in place for the upcoming Board of Directors election.  Considering our surveys have traditionally resulted in 300-500 results , at the time I put a personal goal on the survey response rate of 500, anything greater than that and I would consider the time and energy It took to put it together a win, anything less and well, we wouldn’t be doing any more exploring in the use of public voting for Summit Sessions.

    I’m VERY pleased to say that by all indications, the voting process was a great success, sure we will always aim to do better but, for now, having over 1100 people vote on what they want to see at the Summit is a huge win for PASS as an organization.  In the App Dev group, the winner was declared by 2 votes.   2 votes out of 600 is pretty outstanding, if you didn’t take the time and vote, you could have been the vote that swayed the result!!  Don’t miss your chance next time!!  The winning sessions can be found here

    I want to take the time to thank each and every member of the awesome PASS Community who voted.  As well as Jeremiah Peschka (Twitter|Blog) & Lori Edwards (Twitter|Blog) for dealing with my crazy ideas on putting this together, and keeping me in check.  Andy Warren (Twitter|Blog) for helping me get the voting tool he built for pass working for this use.  Id also like to give a huge thanks to Hannes, Wesley and Elena at PASSHQ for helping bring all of this to PASS (pun intended)

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