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I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

PASS Update 12

Time for another update on all things PASS. I’ve been struggling to find time for PASS activities and having to prioritize the time I do have towards things that have to be done rather than things I want to get done. Frustrating because I want to do more, but probably realistic to know and share that it’s just not always possible. Sometimes life just gives you  more than you have time to do.

Last week we had our July board meeting and it was fairly routine, about 25 minutes total. We voted to approve the previous minutes and a couple other small issues. The meetings are necessary and  usually pretty efficient as far as voting, but that’s not to say they are fun. For example, this time we were discussion a document and it’s revisions, and we spent a lot of time trying to explain what page/paragraph we were talking about. We do conference calls to make it easy to participate, but I think using Live Meeting would make a lot of different for this type of discussion. The other thing I don’t like about these meetings is very little collaboration – just not the right time, enough time, etc, to make it work, and we rarely have calls outside of the meeting that involved more than one other person. Not to say we don’t collaborate, but to me you have to put the people in the room if you can and if not a targeted group on the phone and spend same time.

I just finished working with Tom Larock and Kevin Kline on recommendations back to the board on how to qualify voters for the upcoming election. This is an interesting – and frustrating – problem. In the past we had paid members so it was easy, no one cared enough about trying to tilt the election to spend $70 per vote. With it only being an electronic vote and no financial hurdle, how do you qualify members? We came up with about 7 different options, none of which are great. I’ll share more on that once the Board has a chance to review and decide.

Speaking of the recommendations, one thing I like to see (and try to do) is a range of options. We all have favorite solutions and biases, so to help others make a good decision you have to show them a range – what I call good, better, and best. Not to say that there still won’t be a bias, but just trying to find options helps you better understand the problem and whether the proposed solution really works.

PASS HQ has circulated a draft plan for managing content and ultimately there will be one person on HQ staff that will review and monitor content. That’s long overdue, as I took over the content portfolio I was struck how hard it is to walk the line between empowering people to make changes and total chaos (and if you have SharePoint, you’ll be familiar with the problem!). HQ is also going to make a pass through the site to clean up and standardize, tedious but needed to maintain a professional look. That reduces my stake in things to trying to provide some guidance about what content we publish. For example, we don’t use our blog very well, and when we do I’m fairly picky up the tone of the posts – should be semi-formal, and we often hit casual.

I’ve also just finished a review of the election process document, 20+ pages put together by HQ, and sent back comments and changes. The election last year definitely had some points I wasn’t happy with as a candidate, so Tom and I are trying to make sure that we at least fix the things we saw wrong from last year. It’s also fair to call it an evolutionary process, each year we learn lessons and fold them back in, all with the goal of providing nominees and voters with a fun and fair election.

I’m also continuing to participate in other parts of PASS such as the networking seminar. I’ll be tailoring my editorial for next week to talk about the seminar, and I just had a call with Craig at HQ to try to give him answers he was waiting for on marketing (I’m just helping there because I know Don and the topic), and I talked to Blythe about how we handle scenarios where we have an existing chapter in a city and a new one wants to form (no simple answers there) to share some thoughts I had – Blythe and Greg Low ultimately set the policy.

I’m way behind on two projects. publishing some SQL injection guidance and getting the rules for paid articles published. Details the content plan will be out early next week, the SQL injection stuff…not sure. Guilty of owning too much of the deliverables there, though it’s easier than you know to make that mistake! I need to get those going so I can review my goals and set new ones to carry me through the Summit.

I’ll post more on this separately, but the call for nominations will open July 27th (approx) and we’re hoping to build a slate of great candidates.  We want a lot when it comes to candidates – leadership, vision, experience, financial and budgeting savvy, PASS participation, great communications skills, SQL expertise. Start thinking about whether you’re interested, or someone you know is.


Posted by Steve Jones on 23 July 2009

Thanks for the update.

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