Posts tagged Summit

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)

Dont Forget About PASS Summit Session Preferencing


This year we decided to try something new and allow any PASS member input into the Summit session selections.  Hopefully it will provide good info for the session reviewers to use.  They always have a very tough job choosing sessions since there are so many good choices.  For instance the DBA review team will have looked over 200 different abstracts when they are done!  I hope that the preference results will give them a little more info when deciding between 2 equally good sessions.

Preconference seminars

Dont forget to let us know specifically which precons you’d like to see, these results are going to be used more stringently than the regular sessions so the more results we can get the better!


Use of the tool ends today so hurry and log in to the Preferencing site and chose as many sessions as you’d like.  There is no limit but, beware choosing too many isn’t exactly helping the situation 🙂

Ill put out an update once the selections are over on how helpful the preferencing info turned out to be.

Further promoting the growth of speakers

Always on the lookout for ways to promote our best speakers from within, I stumbled into an idea the other day that was so brilliant I dont know why we havent done it before.  Actually I know why but thats for a different blog post on a different day.

Promoting top speakers from within

PASS has many different types of events, these days, everything from a single chapter meeting with 5-10 people all the way up to the annual summit where I’d guess we top out over 3000 this year.  I think as speakers hone their craft It should be our goal to reward them in any way we can.  To that end, Im pleased to announce a couple of what I think are exciting things.

Spring 24 Hours of PASS

The Spring 2011 24 Hours of PASS was a great success with many great speakers and topics highlighted.  We decided to pull the top 3 speakers (within some guidelines) and give them automatic session spots at the annual Summit that is being held in Seattle this year.  These speakers will be given the opportunity to give a session on the same topic that was so successful at the 24hours of pass event.  In addition, these abstracts will be in the running for one of the coveted Spotlight sessions at this years Summit.

The Guidelines for selecting top 3 were pretty simple, we used the session evaluations and removed the “rate the quality of livemeeting” question.  The only additional eliminating factor was that we required the attendance number to have been in the top 75%, that is to say if a session was in the bottom 1/4 of attendance it was excluded.

SQL Rally

Are you a presenter at this years Rally?  If so, Id encourage you to bring your best presentation because we’re going to do the same thing for the Rally.  The top 3 Sessions will get automatic sessions at the Summit and the ability to be selected as a spotlight.  I havent decided on the exact guildelines for the selection yet but, I expect it will be very similar to the guidelines we used to select who received the spotlight invitations this year.

Just in case the top three 24 hours of PASS presenters want to know early, or you want to congratulate them! (their emails will be going out shortly)

Gail Shaw — Bad Plan! Sit!

Karen Lopez — Five Physical Database Design Blunders and How to Avoid them

Audrey Hammonds — T-SQL Awesomeness: 3 ways to Write Cool SQL

Edited to clarify the fact the top 3 were chosen based on 24hop session evals

PASS Summit 2011 Preconference meta details

PASS Summit 2011 Preconference Session selection info

The other day I detailed as much info as I could about changes to this years session selection processes.  The call for ALL Sessions at the Summit is officially open until May 5, 2011 that means we’re accepting abstracts for regular sessions as well as for the Preconference sessions.


For many of the more experienced speakers in the SQL Community the opportunity to give a full day highly technical session at the summit is attractive.  Not only do they get to showcase their technical skills, they also get to showcase their own unique training style.  Additionally, the pay isnt half bad either.  Of course, most of these speakers will tell you that based on the amount of time needed to generate an all day session the pay is actually half bad, not half good 🙂

Requirements Change

For the past 3 years we’ve had a set of requirements in place that qualify speakers to present a preconference session, those requirements are looked at every year by a set of volunteers to make sure they are still valid and usually only minor adjustments are made.  This year however I made a larger adjustment.  In order to clarify the requirement that giving a precon requires you to also give a spotlight session, I added #11 to the list of criteria you should meet to deliver a precon.  Since that is a gimme criteria, I bumped the total criteria needed to meet from 4 to 5


After you’ve done your thing and submitted a terrific abstract for a precon session its up to us to try and be fair in the selection process for these sessions.  Over the last few years we have tried many things to both open up the selection process and to open up submissions to a competitive process.  There have been many ups and downs in this iterative process.  Sometimes we do well, and sometimes… not so much.  The point is that we’re always trying to produce a better process.  I’m excited that hopefully this year we’ve ironed out a few more of the wrinkles we exposed last year.

Process Part one

After the Call for abstracts closes we are going to release a “preferencer” tool that we’re going to use to allow PASS Members the ability to communicate what their favorite sessions are.  We’re going to use the data gathered from this tool to assist us in making the session selections.  Additionally, we are tentatively going to use this same info to prepopulate your attendee schedule builder after the selections are made.  I’d like to think we’ll be able to use the data from this tool in a 1-1 fashion where we take the top X precons per track and build the session schedule that way.  In reality though, I expect we’re going to find several overlapping session subjects at the top of the list.  I’m thinking things like 3 “indexing sessions” in the top 5 for the DBA track, or 2 Sessions from a single speaker for instance.  We’ll need a a team to help make those decisions.

Introducing the team that will make the decisions

K. Brian Kelley Author/Blogger/Speaker Extraordinaire – A man with his credentials doesn’t need an intro.

Lori Edwards PASS Junkie, blogger, and all around pain in the …  – I kid, Lori has been picking up all of the slack in the PASS Program committee, as well as participating in the PASS ERC

Me –  Yeah, Im going to have a seat at the table this year.  I havent participated in an actual abstract selection team in a couple of years so this should be a fun diversion.

In building this small team, I’m expecting that there wont be a heck of a lot of “work” to do.  I’m really expecting that we will be able to rely mainly on the members preferences but I wanted to have insurance in case there was more to the selection than simply relying on preferences.

The multiple similar session problem

In the past one dilemma that Ive been looking for creative ways to solve goes something like this.

“If I specialize in Architecture for SQL Flux capacitors and Veteran speaker XYZ always presents a precon on SQL flux capacitor architecture how will I ever get chosen for a precon”

This year, I’m hoping that with the membership showing which sessions they’d like to see if a particular topic has an apparent huge interest, we can potentially give 2 precons on a similar topic (1 on Monday, and 1 on Tuesday).  The way the tool is being built, we should get good data about which precons a group of people would most like to see.  I dont know if this will work or not but, its a small enough risk that I cant see why we wouldnt at least try to see what the data tells us.

After thinking about the data this tool should generate, I wonder where I can find a good data analysis person to volunteer and tell me what it means.  Maybe I should ask someone in the community for help with that before mucking it up myself *hint*

PASS 2011 Summit Abstract Submissions

This week we’ll be launching the call for abstracts for the 2011 PASS Summit.

I thought it would be good to go over the basics for this year especially since some things are changing from years past.  Many of the changes are minor, some are behind the scenes so to speak, and a small amount are larger and more public facing.

A New Site

PASS HQ and the Program Committee team has been diligently working to bring the summit speaker/education management programming inhouse.  With this effort comes a new site for abstract submissions.  We hope this new site will make the abstract submission process easier and more relevant to collecting the info PASS needs in order to facilitate session selections.

A New Process

One of the largest changes on the backend process this year is going to be seperating the speaker review from the abstract review piece of the selection process.  Essentially, this year we have two seperate teams to do each task.  This came about from the comments of previous review team members as well as the need to offload some of the work the call generates for the larger teams.  Im hopeful that this change will help bring a little more stability to the scores each team gives an abstract as well as cut some of the subjectiveness (likely only a tiny bit)

A New Session Type

I wrote previously about having 1/2 day sessions at the Summit and they are still planned.  Now you know where to bring your best and brightest content!  In case your thinking what it would be like to have your 1/2 day session recorded, Ive got great news.   Ive got a tentative compromise devised.  This year we will be distributing two seperate DVD sets, 1 for attendees of the Summit which will have every session.  Another for non attendees that will have all of the regular sessions excluding the deep dive 1/2 day sessions. 

Spotlight Sessions & Invitations

Thanks to some great feedback last year The formula that we used for spotlight selections was adjusted and looks like this: We will invite all speakers who recieved an overall evaluation of 4.5 or greater and had at least 15 attendees and 15 completed evaluations.  We will be excluding Lightning talks, Chalk Talks, and Microsoft speakers.  This year that leaves us with a whopping total of 27 people getting spotlight invites.  These speakers are truly spectacular, and they deserve the extra recognition/time for their sessions.  All abstracts submitted as spotlight will be considered not only for a spotlight slot but, will also be considered for a regular session if they dont get picked for a spotlight session.

Preconference Changes

I would be remiss to not mention this here but, some different things (changes!!) are planned for this year, as soon as I get a chance to finalize them a bit more I will write about it, hopefully in the next few days to a week. 

Abstract Limits

We have decided to change the limits on abstract submissions a bit for this year.  We will be encouraging you to submit up to 4 total : Regular, 1/2 day and Spotlight (if invited) Sessions.  In addition if you meet the qualifications you can submit up to 2 Preconference sessions.  On top of this each person can submit 1 panel (discussion type) session for consideration.  In order to do this each speaker in your panel will need to have speaker details entered so we can rate the session properly.  This in itself is a pretty good sized change so get creative and see what the selection teams think!

But when

I can hear you asking from here… “All of thats great but, when will the call for abstracts for the 2011 PASS Summit open?”  I have great news. 

The call will open this Wednesday! 4/13/2011 

look for more info coming officially from PASS

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