There has been quite a discussion today on the direction of PASS (the Professional Association for SQL Server) and some controversy about the opinions, blogs, and whining (yes, someone said whining) that’s been taking place. I’ve certainly had my say, with an editorial and a couple of blogs on the election and the board of directors.
A few people have said that if you don’t volunteer, or run for the board of directors you shouldn’t criticize. Or that you’re part of the problem, not the solution.
I disagree with that. I’ve had that attitude in the past, and it’s wrong. Is it only the 30 people that volunteer (rough guess) or the 12 on the board can speak out? Is it only former government officials that get to criticize the current people serving? Is it only people inside a company that can give opinions on the board of director’s performance?
Not in the US. And while PASS does seek to be a global organization, it’s a US non-profit entity.
The fundamental right that people should have is to express their opinions. Without those opinions, along with ideas and criticism, how does any organization, any board of directors, any management know how to measure their performance?
They don’t. Without knowing the wants and needs of those that belong to the group, you can’t know what decisions to make.
Without accounting for your constituents you are a dictator. A benevolent dictator perhaps, but still a dictator.
There are multiple problems with PASS as an organization, and a lack of participation and volunteers is definitely a problem. However that’s not an excuse for ignoring the opinions of those that are expressing them. Or are criticizing the group.
You need transparency, and accountability, and communication. If PASS is doing a great job, PUBLICIZE IT. Don’t tell me that we’re doing well, in general terms. Tell me specifically what you’re doing. Tell me what didn’t get done. Give me reasons.
I can accept failure, I can accept missteps and mistakes. I just can’t take your work that you did the best you could without some accountability.
If it is only the 50 loudest people that share their opinions, then those opinions should help you govern. If you get more, use those, but don’t run things in a vacuum.