Changes are coming
For as long as I can remember Ive been involved in one way or another with the PASS Summit.. This simply means I have a short memory because I think I first started with the summit in 2006 or maybe it was 2005. Either way its been a long run at making the premiere event for SQL Professionals a success. During the last PASS Board meeting I let it be known to the other directors that I would like to move on to other things within PASS. I have spent a huge amount of energy over the last few years attempting to remake the processes around the summit education program. Ive worked with a great set of volunteers over the years and together we have had some great success in making the processes better and more “translucent” as my favorite volunteer would say. However, I think its time for a new challenge and Id like to put the same effort into one of the other PASS portfolios. This will also give someone else with a renewed energy and vision a chance to make their mark on the Summit program. This is where I’d like to start the handoff, unfortunately there isnt exactly a line at my door of people wanting to take it from me. So, if you ever wanted to give up your life free time for the good of the SQL community feel free to drop me a line!
At the same board meeting, I stepped up and decided to put my name on the ballot for the PASS executive board. There are lots of rules and regulations in the bylaws about who can run and when, I wont bore you with all the details but, the end result is out of those eligible to run: Myself, Tom LaRock, Rick Heiges and Douglas McDowell are running for the 2 vice president seats while Bill Graziano is running unopposed for President. I admittedly didnt start that week thinking I was going to run for the executive board of PASS but, as it turns out it fits nicely with what I want to do for PASS going forward so I decided give it a shot and run. Hopefully enough of the board will see that I have the right kind of energy to do good in one of the positions.
I appreciate the challenges and opportunity that have been given to me over the years in this community and hope this is merely the next logical step in my service to our community.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Its Meme Monday again and this time Tom has picked an interesting topic.
How many problems do we all see in our shops that arent related to disks? Since disk related issues would normally be my #1-10 I guess Ill have to start at #11
11. ESX misconfigurations
12. Old DBMS Version requirements from vendors
13. Bad DB design
14. Active Directory
15. Network connectivity/configuration
17. Security architecture & design
18. Vendor Code…
19. Overly complex solutions to satisfy edge cases
This is my list of 9, What are yours?
Ill go out on a limb and tag 3 people
Lori Edwards, you havent written a blog post lately, consider this your invitation
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
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.
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*