Geoff N. Hiten Blog

SQL Server thoughts, observations, and comments


Last night I had the privilege of sitting at Kevin Kline’s dinner table with some of my fellow community leaders for a serious discussion.  Note that I am not talking about Board members or Nom-Com members (although one of each was there), I mean “in the trenches” local community leaders.  Given the current furor over the PASS Board of Directors nominating process and outcome, you can guess what we were talking about.  Discussion is the operative word here.  We were all professionals who respect each other and acted that way.  We talked and we listened.  We challenged assumptions and defended positions.  We worked on the problem and all walked away better for the experience.  Ultimately, that is how people of good character resolve conflicts.  The public arena with blogs, forums, and Twitter is a great place to raise awareness, but I don’t see us resolving anything out there.


Here a few personal opinions about the process and the outcome.


We (the community) obviously don’t have a clear agreement on what constitutes “qualified”.  This is an area we need to work on as a community.  Last year, there wasn’t even a public baseline to compare to.  This year, the nom-com published the criteria and a lot of the work product.  Whether or not you agree with the criteria, having structure and transparency is an improvement.


The Nom-Com did exactly what they believed was right.  They were given a task and a process and executed it.  I am perfectly willing to discuss changes to the process, but I will not accept any personal attacks on the members.  They cared about getting it right.  “Right” being defined by the process.  The board had the ability to call “reset” and override the process but they chose not to.  Andy Warren has discussed that in depth.  I don’t feel the need to comment further on that.


This one is tough and a lot of you are going to disagree.  I support the decisions of the Nom-Com and the Board as they stand.  (But Geoff, of COURSE you support the decision, you are on the slate).  I will let you in on a secret.  I am fine with not getting elected.  Winning or losing this election will define HOW I contribute the community over the two years, not WHETHER I will contribute.  I will be honored if you choose me to represent you.  I think I can effectively help lead this organization and this community.  


I am a firm believer in process over outcome.  Long term, PASS will survive this election slate and the controversy surrounding it.  I believe it is more important for PASS to develop a good nominating process that it is to have any particular individual as a candidate or on the Board this year.  Do we need to make adjustments to the process? You bet.  Will we?  Absolutely.  How are we going to fix it?  People of good character who are passionate about the community will sit around table and come up with version 2 of the process.  We have all dealt with software that needed another version or two to get right.  We stuck with it because we saw the potential.  I think PASS deserves the same consideration.


Finally, I suppose I should put my two cents worth in about what I think is important in a board member.  PASS is a representative organization.  We will do well as a community and as a formal organization as long as we choose leaders of good character who are passionate about the community.  Starting with those elements, provided we can find a kitchen table somewhere, we can fix problems and provide excellent service to the community.  Given that, I would be fine with any of the original nine candidates as Board members. 


Legacy Comments

Jack Corbett
re: Character
Fantastic post Geoff. Wish I could have been in on the discussion you all had.

Andy Warren
re: Character
Well said Geoff! I expect v2 to be better, and I think we can do a lot better now that we really understand the problem, and it won't be just the BOD solving it either. Best of luck on the election.

Wendy Pastrick
re: Character
My favorite post on the subject so far, Geoff! It's serendipitious that the election results, the BoD meeting and SQL Saturday all came together at the same time so this could be addressed - in person. You're absolutely right that these things are much easier to handle in person than via electronic means. After all, the organization is about people!

Peter Shire
re: Character
Geoff, thanks for sharing this insightful commentary. It puts a perspective on the continual process to improve and grow the SQL community. There are many dedicated professionals investing countless hours of their personal time in this effort. Anything of this scope and value requires that sort of herculean effort. Most community members recognize this is a iterative process and appreciate the progress. I, for one, am confident the improvements will continue and I applaud all the individuals involved in moving PASS forward. Good luck on election day.