SSC Editorial: Early Adopters

I wrote Early Adopters for SQLServerCentral after seeing a comment elsewhere that basically lumped all MVP’s into one category as ‘early adopters’. There’s some truth to that, but not all MVP’s are early adopters and not all early adopters are MVP’s. What interested me more was the attitude, that trying something early is foolish or unwise. Sometimes it is! But that isn’t the whole story.  Unless someone tries it and proves it works or finds the flaws, the rest of us will never use it. Doesn’t mean we leap without looking. Or that we try every new feature.  I just wish for an industry where we appreciate those that take risks so the rest of us don’t have to and maybe for an industry where we see that part of our profession is giving those new features a real vetting.

There were many good comments, but I pulled out two to share. This from Eric Russell on MVP’s:

I think there are maybe three types of MVPs: those who scout ahead exploring the latest version of SQL Server or how to push the product to it’s limits, those selfless evangelists who go on the road and educate the masses on topics like best practices, and those who do heroic stuff behind the scenes like delving into internals and troubleshooting in public forums.

And this from David Poole, in response to a question from me about when to adopt a feature and how to mitigate risk:

  • If you are talking about early adoption of the latest version of SQL Server then having a comprehensive set of functional and non-functional tests will mitigate those risks.
  • If you are talking about implementing a new feature in a new version of SQL Server then again a robust test strategy is the mitigation. The platform is fundamentally mature.
  • If you are talking about fundamentally new technology then here be dragons. It’s not just about being first to use the technology its probably going to be the first to use a technology in a particular way.

Did I provoke thought on the issue? Not sure I made my case well. It’s hard to see that when you’re writing.