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PASS Update #43

Last Friday saw the end of the 2010 PASS election and it was very nice to find out I had been re-elected, with Douglas McDowell (also re-elected) and Allen Kinsel being the other two winners. We had more than 1000 ballots cast, about twice what we had last year. Aside from the not minor pain associated with the nominating process I was pleased with the changes we made. Better messaging, following reminders to vote, Election HQ, more transparency – all were things we did in response to the review of the 2009 election. We also had an incredible set of applicants this year which I view as a positive and promising sign of our growth. I hope we can field the same or better next year. Thank you to everyone who voted and in particular to everyone who applied for the Board!

I’ve waited a while to post some notes on changes I’d like to see and now that the election is complete I’ll list them:

  • We have to have the debate about values – what makes a qualified nominee? There is a disconnect there that has to be fixed. I believe there should be a minimum set of qualifications, but I think there are multiple paths to get there.
  • Depending on what changes we make, we need to revisit again our transparency settings. I think more rather than less is probably the right way to go, but just as in last year we can back test ideas to see how various scenarios would work
  • We have to find a better way to identify “qualified voters”. A side affect of moving to free membership is that we don’t do a good job of this.
  • We need to look at the questions asked by the community and decide if any should move into the main application. We need to make sure new questions are posted to Twitter and/or email notify the candidates. I’d also like to see the results cross tabbed to make it easy to compare and contrast.
  • We need to evolve campaigning. Aside from answering posted questions I really did no campaigning. That’s not because I didn’t think I needed to, rather I wasn’t sure how I should do it in a way acceptable to me and to you. A part of that question is I thought – maybe just me – that even with all the interviews it was hard to tell candidates apart based solely on written answers and interviews. It’s worth doing, but I think ultimately meeting people in person gives them the best reasons to vote or not for a candidate.
  • We may not get the election perfect next year, but we should not repeat mistakes from this year. I’m not opposed to perfection, but it’s hard to achieve. I’d like to see the community vet the proposed process for 2011 early and deeply.

A week or so ago at the September 2010 Board Meeting we started the process of making the changes. Rick Bolesta is heading up a small committee to make recommendations back to the Board on how to field the actual committee that will revisit the election process. That may sound convoluted, but this oversight committee (which I’ve joined) is tasked with suggesting who should be the chairman, what scope they have, time frame, resources, and expected deliverables. Once the Board feels like we’ve got all that identified then we’ll set up the election review committee to actually go through the entire process and recommend changes.

My hope is that we’ll pick a Board alumni (former Board member) to head the committee, someone who has seen both sides and can manage a lot of diverse ideas and opinions. To that I hope we’ll add a small group of community members with different views; someone who thinks no change is needed, someone who wants to remove the Nomcom and/or the qualifications, someone in the middle. They should each represent a segment of the community and go back to them for discussion, and over the course of whatever amount of time reach a plan that if less than perfect, is something we can all agree on for 2011.

In other areas I’m continuing to work on SQLSaturday stuff and SQLRally, the latter taking up a good chunk of time but hopefully will slow down as we get closer to opening registration during the week of the 2010 PASS Summit. I’m also slowly drafting some ideas for transparency across the organization and should have something for review prior to the Summit – not a simple task, trying to figure out what matters and what doesn’t, what to do when someone doesn’t like to write, and more.


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 SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


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