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The Voice of the DBA

Communicate Smarter Not More

I recently installed Microsoft Teams. Not because I wanted to, or because Redgate is abandoning Slack, but because Microsoft requires it for some MVP calls. This replaces Skype for Business (S4B), and while it worked OK, I'm not sure it worked better. In fact, for the use cases I have, Teams feels like an abandonment of the Skype codebase for a newer version of the same thing. That's fine, and I don't really care. It's slightly annoying as I have S4B for internal stuff at Redgate and didn't need another tool, but with a modern, quad core, 2.xGHz CPU and 32GB of RAM, one more application isn't going to break anything. It is, however, making me less productive.
We have lots of ways to communicate. In fact, I have Twitter (social media), Slack (work comms), Outlook (email), S4B (calls) and a mobile phone all running as I write this. I don't get too caught up in any of them, and I have most notifications disabled, precisely for the reasons outlined in this article: the tools can be a productivity drain. I know this, and most of these tools actually live in the background, behind the various tools I use to get work done. I check them at times, but try to stay off most of the day. I need to focus, and having more communication methods is distracting.
There was a day not too long ago when I needed to find a person that had missed a meeting time. Messages went out through Slack DMs, Twitter DMs, text, Skype IM, and email, hoping that a notification would pop up for someone on some app. I know I've used Slack like a PA system at times, pinging other people to go find someone that wasn't responding to messages. For someone working remotely, it's frustrating to try and reach out to others, but I've seen people in an office take the same tactic, reaching out electronically, which often creates more interruptions and distractions for others. I don't know if this is that much worse than walking around an office and physically interrupting others, but I do think it can be more pervasive as too many of us have constant notifications on devices that don't go away when the workday ends. We also do it more, because it's so easy. Getting up to walk around is a bar that deters some people from interrupting others.
What might be even harder to deal with is the linkage of various applications together. Now I see GitHub messages in GitHub, Slack, and Email. It's a barrage of items that aren't hard to handle, but they each take away a little bit of time and attention.
That's the downside of communication methods. Each requires a little time, even if just to click/swipe/eye roll at a notification. Those little bits of time add up and don't necessarily help us be more productive. Some things require too much time as I've watched people look through and consider just the right emoji to use for a reaction on Slack. Most of the time I think there should just be a couple choices, because the richness of the variety equates to the decline of quality time spent on work that needs to be done.
We constantly hear that communication skills, those soft skills of relating to others and exchanging information clearly, are important. They are, but I think there is another element to communicating well: brevity. Learning to communicate effectively, in a way that allows you yo get your message across quickly, while also being able to focus for long periods of time is a skill  more of us need. Being able to turn off distractions, or delay responses when quickness isn't needed will help you be more productive and efficient. I think one of the interview questions I'd ask in the future would be around how to deal with the constant barrage of Slack/Teams/Skype/Outlook/Github/whatever-comes-next messages.
Do you know how to reduce the overload of communications in your job? Let us know today.

Steve Jones - SSC Editor

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  Featured Contents

The Basics - Level 1 of the Stairway to Query Store

carlos10robles from SQLServerCentral

Introduction Instead of going straight into the topic of the Query Store, I would like to start this Stairway Series by mentioning a few performance tuning scenarios that are very common to production DBAs. I think most of us have been in one of these situations at some time: An application experiencing slowness after a […]

Using the FILTER Function in DAX

Additional Articles from SimpleTalk

In the previous article of this series, Andy Brown of Wise Owl Training explained how to use the oh-so-important CALCULATE function in DAX to make changes to the default filter context within a formula. This article shows how you can use the FILTER function to do something similar and explains the differences between the two approaches.

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Additional Articles from Redgate

Got a favorite story of unusual, unique, or inspired attempts at data privacy. We'd love to hear them on DBAle's data privacy contest. Share your story for the chance to win a box of beer and the glory of getting your name on DBAle

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Availability group error message 19405

carlos10robles from SQLServerCentral

Availability groups (AG’s) is one of my favorite features of SQL Server, despite some DBA’s catalogue them as “too complex” to implement, configure, manage  and maintain … I just...

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - IN vs UNION ALL

Bert Wagner from SQLServerCentral

Watch this week’s episode on YouTube. When you need to filter query results on multiple values, you probably use an IN() statement or multiple predicates separated by ORs: or...


  Question of the Day

Today's question (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor):


Preventing a SELECT

I have a table, dbo.DatabaseSizeInfo, with some information about my database growth. A developer, SallyDev, wants to view this information. However, I am sure others will also want access. What is the best way to get SallyDev access to view data in this table?

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  Yesterday's Question of the Day (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor)

Service Broker Contracts

How do we add a new contract in SQL Server Service Broker?


Explanation: The DDL For adding a contract to Service Broker is CREATE CONTRACT. Ref: CREATE CONTRACT -

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Database Pros Who Need Your Help

Here's a few of the new posts today on the forums. To see more, visit the forums.

SQL Server 2017 - Administration
Double click .sql file opens new SSMS session - When I double click a .sql file, it opens SSMS.  If I double click a second .sql file, it opens a new SSMS session instead of a new tab on the current SSMS session.  We are running v17.8.1 Is there setting for this.  Have already looked at the following posts and none of this worked: […]
SQL Server 2017 - Development
Trace file 95 Percentile alongside min/avg/max - Hi   Im trying to show the 95th percentile duration value, per proc , alongside side the min/avg/max duration. And Im hitting a brick wall. How on earth do I calculate the percentile per proc. Any words of advise gratefully received thank you   simon
SQL Server 2016 - Administration
Linked server - Cross domain - Windows authentication only. - Hi all, I was looking for some advice on the best way to do this, we have our domain (A) and a parent companies domain (B). For a long time now one of our applications running in our domain has been using a linked server also in domain A to get data from domain B […]
SQL Server 2016 - Development and T-SQL
Performance difference for stored proc in SSIS vs SSMS (and other questions) - I have a humongous data set that I am updating from another humongous data set. We are talking about hundreds of millions of rows being updated. Apart from partitioning these tables (which are processed by single year batches) I have tuned the update query and indexed the tables so that the execution plan looks very […]
Development - SQL Server 2014
Merge all rows to one row in results - This is working, thank you to Drew Allen from this forum. I would like to know if this can be tweaked a little. select ai.*, pe.program_name, ac.full_name from all_clients_view ac left outer join alt_id_view ai on ac.people_id = ai.people_id left outer join program_enrollment_view pe ac.people_id = pe.people_id Currently, the result will be like this for […]
Using a third table in small left outer join - HI I have 2 views and I need one more information and not sure how to do this. I thank you for all of your help so far. select b.*, a.full_name from all_clients_view a left outer join alt_id_view b on a.people_id = b.people_id I need to add in the program_name from this view: I don't […]
combination of values - I want to find every combination duplicates and using a value 1 time per combination. If there are X values in the scenario, then each combination would contain X values. Example: 3 values: x, y and z would return: xyz xzy yzx yxz zyx zxy Examples of want I do not want: x xx […]
SQL 2012 - General
How to find a set of sequential values within a list - Hello all, I have a dataset with lat/lon data for vehicles tracking their location every few minutes. It also reflects an estimated speed of travel and the time the record was received/recorded in the database.  A small sample of the data for one vehicle: CREATE TABLE #TESTDATA ( VEHICLEID INT ,LAT INT ,LON INT ,MSGDATE […]
SQL Server 2012 - T-SQL
t-sql 2012 most current year - In the following t-sql 2012, I want to select records from the AMilestone table when the schoolyear is the most current year from the ASemester table. select * from ASemester ASemester join AMilestone AMilestone on AMilestone.SCHOOLYEAR = ASemester.SCHOOLYEAR where ASemester.SCHOOLYEAR = ASemester.max(SCHOOLYEAR) The sql listed above does not work. Thus would you show me the […]
how to encapsulate the same code block with inserted vs deleted in a trigger. - So I have an IUD trigger on a table with quite a few columns.  (Don't ask about normalisation that's another issue).   My code is … INSERT INTO auditTable (a,b,c … k) SELECT a,b,c...k FROM inserted   Later I repeat the exact same for the table deleted.   I was trying to think of a […]
SSRS 2014
Interactive sorting - Is there anyway to sort in SSRS by reportitems.textbox.value? I have a report that a textbox does not appear in the dropdown for interactive sorting that has the following formula in it =(ReportItems!YTLP.value + ReportItems!TSA.value) / ReportItems!YT.value I would like to be able to sort this from largest to smallest value but I can not […]
Visual Studio deploys entire solution when previewing a report - A couple of times recently I've been working in Visual Studio (2015) and have previewed a report.  Visual Studio has immediately deployed the entire solution to the report server.  There doesn't seem to be an obvious pattern as to when this happens, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't (it's only happened twice but, frankly, twice […]
Analysis Services
Calculations - Associated Measure Groups - Hi, I have a current calculation in my cube called 'EUR Rental Value', I added a new calculation called 'USD Rental Value' and when I use excel to connect to my perspective I notice that the new calculation is displayed under the 'Values' measure group and not the 'Sales' measure group. The weird thing is […]
Change Data Source for tabular Model at Deployment? - I s there any way to change the data source for a tabular model at deployment? I have Development, test & Production Sql Servers.  I also Development, test and production servers for SSAS. I would like to change the data source for the model based on which server I am deploying to.  Is this possible? […]
Integration Services
SSIS bcp command unable to open bcp host data file - I have a developer that created and SSIS package that uses bcp. the bcp command is on a process task the working directory is the tools\binn for sql server (2012). the executable is bcp and the arguments are out "business" -c -t~ -T -SXXXX There are expressions used in the command @[User::TableName] + " out […]


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