PASS Update #60

I’ve written a lot here, but for June & July (and part of August) I’m trying to just keep the ship moving (my part of it at least) while I recharge. I still manage to have a few things going on, so here is the 60th update on my efforts as I hit 2.5 years on the Board.

Elections. Just in case nothing has been published by the time you read this I wanted to let you know that we don’t expect to open the call for nominations until at least August 1st, and it may be a week or two later. The ERC didn’t return recommendations to the Board until May, and then Bill Graziano had some work to do following that. Combined with other things on the schedule and everything else, it was technically possible to start and finish the election prior to the Summit, but just barely. Last week we voted to go with a slower pace to increase the chances that the election went well. I was I think the lone vote for pushing forward and deprioritizing other things go get it done, I think having incoming Board members at the Summit as incoming Board members is incredibly valuable. Taking the slower route is safer and probably wiser overall, and I’m ok with the decision to do that.

Note: Just a reminder, if you know someone that would do well on the Board, encourage them! A quick email telling them that would be a valuable service to the community and a wonderful gift to them as well.

Budget.  As I write this we’re still working on the FY 2012 budget that should have been done by June 30th. Due to various things we got a late start and now we’re in revision #10 of the budget. I don’t like the budget process, I never feel like I can do enough to make sure we’re spending our money wisely. The idea is that each board member oversees a segment and reviews that,and then we mush it together and start cutting stuff until we get to a revenue neutral point. Good in theory,not so much in practice. Just managing the question/answer/resolution gets to be a mess, this year we have a word doc with all the notes so at least we can see if everything was answered. We’ve still not taken the important step of allocating IT time to portfolios or particular projects, it’s just one lump of IT time. That doesn’t work well for most organizations and it doesn’t – in my view – work well for us. I’m hoping we can do this after we get the budget done as it is largely an administrative change.

SQLRally 2012. We haven’t appointed anyone to take this over for 2012 on the Board (I asked to have it reassigned to balance my workload) so I try to check in on it. We’re still trying to finalize the venue and date, it looks like early May right now (in Dallas).

SQLSaturday. Karla Landrum has joined PASS as one of community people and I’m thrilled to have her on the team. Karla gets community because she has lived it. We’ll give her two weeks to get settled and then we should see some good stuff happening! I’m not sure of the final workload split at HQ, but Karla will be doing a lot of work coaching new events and will be going out to many of them as well, with a focus on new cities.

My focus has been on IT improvements and some marketing stuff. The IT stuff is coming along nicely. Nothing earth shaking, but we’ve done a lot of fixes and adds across the board, things that will smooth out the experience. We’re also expecting to deploy a graphics makeover by the end of August. I’ve pushed it toward the end of our current dev cycle so that if we ran out of time, we’d get the features done before the looks. The good news is that I was able to get another three months of development time for FY 2012, and we’ll be using some of that immediately. With just a little luck we’ll have all of our current list complete and deployed by end of August. That’s not to say we’ve done it all, or satisfied everyone, but I think you’ll see them as positive improvements. We’ll be meeting at the Summit in November to talk about the next steps in development (at the SQLSaturday Round Table). Tools aren’t the only thing, but they matter a lot.

On the marketing side I’ve asked our marketing person to look at making some of our standard documents such as the sponsor plan look better – font, colors, etc, and to build some standard templates for event flyers. More to do here, and while I’m not always a fan of marketing teams, there are places where expert help makes a difference, so we’ll see. Send me ideas too!

Governance. I haven’t gotten as much done here as I had hoped. I’ve been doing some reading and I’m waiting on some documents from HQ (tax filing, audit statement, etc), and I’ve been making some notes about some of the challenges we seem to keep hitting – capturing knowledge, and building simple and repeatable processes. Perhaps I’m over confident, but I believe I understand the scope of the problems, which is a good step in finding solutions. It’s not that easy of course, but there are real gains to be made here, if we can reach consensus on the Board.