Browsing articles tagged with " Speaking"

Speaking: DAMA IA (Des Moines) Oct 18 – 10 Database Design Blunders

Oct 4, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Database, Speaking  //  No Comments

My next stop on the DAMA chapter speaking tour is Des Moines DAMA Chapter, where I’ll be presenting on 18 October.


10 Database Design Blunders

What’s going on in your physical data model? How many people can or will update it to match the reality of what’s going on in your databases? Who decides what goes into the physical model?

In this presentation we discuss 10 physical data modeling mistakes that cost you dearly. Will your physical design lead to performance snags, development delays, bugs and weakening of professional respect?
Data Architects are often tasked to prepare first cut physical data models, yet these skills usually overlap those of DBAs and Developers and this overlap can lead to contention, confusion, and complacency. With this presentation, you’ll learn about the 10 blunders, how to find them, plus 10 tips on how to avoid them.

More information should be available on their website soon about the location and timing.

Speaking: DAMA MN (Minneapolis) 17 October – Career Success in Turbulent Times + More

Oct 4, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Speaking  //  1 Comment


The next few weeks are going to be busy for me: I’m speaking at SQLSaturday Oregon (Portland) and then at the PASS Summit in Seattle.  Right after that I’m headed on DAMA chapter speaking tour.  First up on that tour is DAMA MN on Monday, 17 October 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM where I’ll be presenting:

Career Success in Data Management in Turbulent Times

A workshop on issues and ideas that today’s data architects and modelers can do to build their careers and networking skills with other data management professionals.

Workshop topics will include:
• Demonstrating your expertise
• Building a portfolio of your success stories
• Getting others to sell your skills and business value
• Building & extending your data management skill set
• 10 Steps to highlighting you and your work

Bring your thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

You’ve Just Inherited a Data Model:  Now What?

The good news is that someone else has done the hard work of architecting a data model and you just have to take on minor maintenance…or is that the bad news? Or have you been tasked with implementing a pattern or industry standard data model? Perhaps a team member has sent the world’s best resignation letter and won’t be helping you with the model. Learn the 5 steps you MUST take before working with a new data model.

Attendees will also receive a detailed checklist for the 5 steps.

Details about the event are provided on the DAMA MN webpage.  I hope to see you there.

Sessions a Data Architect Can Love at #SQLSat92 Portland (Including Mine)

Sep 28, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Professional Development, Speaking  //  No Comments

SQLSaturday 92 Logo

I’m speaking at the Portland, OR SQLSaturday on 8 October.  I’ll be giving my Database Design Contentious Issues Presentation, one of my favourites and most popular presentations.

Database Design Contentious Issues

A highly interactive and popular session where attendees evaluate the options and best practices of common and advanced design issues, such as:

* Natural vs. Surrogate keys

* Classwords and other Naming Standards

* Varchar Minimums

*Identity Crisis

* Who Calls the Shots and Who Does What?

…and others. Bring your votes, your debates, and your opinions.

Session Level: Intermediate

I so love giving this presentation because it is driven by audience members.  Not a lecture by me, but a moderated, sometimes referred debate about issues in database design and data modeling.

But I’m betting you data architects are thinking "Why would I attend an event about SQL Server? I’m DBMS-agnostic." I think it’s great that we modelers and designers have skills that cross multiple vendor products.  But I sometimes wonder if some of us pride our agnosticism so much that we have actually become DBMS-illiterates. I know that most of us don’t work hands on with databases as often and DBAs and Developers, but it is important that we understand and have a firm foundation on the platforms upon which our designs will be built.

SQL Saturdays are free events hosted by other data professionals and sponsored by vendors in the data community (that’s what keeps them free).  Sometimes there is a small charge for lunch, but that’s it.  For the Portland event, it appears that even lunch is free.  You must pre-register, but it’s free.  Did I mention it’s free?

So you can come to my session but what about the others?  Here are ones that I’ve picked out the schedule that would be of value to those of us wearing the modeling/design hat on a project:

Database Development: Keep It Agile, Not Fragile

Does your company use agile development? It can deliver more value to customers with lower project risk. However, it can also make the system design change rapidly, and require frequent software rollouts. This session will focus on best practices for DBAs and developers to make design, testing and deployments easier. Keep your systems agile, not fragile!

Session Level: Intermediate

Data Warehousing Best Practises

This session will describe the best practises for designing a data warehouse to get the most out of SQL Server. Doug has worked in data warehousing for 12 years and will blend experience, with best practises and recommendations from Microsoft’s Fast Track program. Each version of SQL Server introduces new features specifically for data warehousing – by applying the correct technique, feature, hint, modelling approach and layout the data warehouse will be faster and more scalable.

Session Level: Advanced

No More Bad Dates: Working With Dates and Times

Dates and times seem simple at first. Kendra Little will show you there’s more to it than you think. She’ll give you five best practices that will help you select the right temporal data type, avoid common issues, and use the most effective techniques to aggregate data. She’ll also explain painful problems with query performance and how to avoid them. Choose wisely: the correct types and high performing data access logic will scale well and save development and administrative time.

Session Level: Intermediate

Want a promotion? It’s up to you!

Self-promotion is often times the best promotion you can get. In this session, we will talk about how to promote yourself, your brand and your career without looking like “That Guy”. We will discuss Social Medias, communities, volunteering and other ways to get your name out… What are the first steps? Come find out.


Bad Indexes

I’m sure you’ve been told seeks are better than scans. I’m sure you’ve been told that a covering index is ideal. I’m sure you’ve been told small arrows are better than thick ones. Get the whole story.

Session Level: Intermediate

Models, Cubes & Marts: how & why to choose

Microsoft offers three distinct platforms for data analysis and a variety of related reporting tools. When should you use BI Semantic Models, PowerPivot, tabular column storage, SSAS cubes or relational data marts? Learn about the right fit for each of these choices and what you need to know to use the next generation of BI reporting tools like Project Crescent, SSRS and SharePoint BI.


Analyze and map spatial data with SQL Server 2008

With the widespread availability of location and spatial data to both consumers and corporations (such as smartphone GPS data), there is a need to manage and analyze all this data as well. SQL Server 2008 introduces new standards-based spatial data types and associated functionality to the relational engine. Spatial data can be stored in the cloud using SQL Azure. And SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services allows spatial data to be visualized as Maps. In this session, we’ll explore both the SQL spatial data types and SSRS maps, using demos to show this functionality in action. We’ll also cover enhancements to spatial functionality in the forthcoming "Denali" version of SQL Server.



Why these sessions?  I believe that even if we aren’t responsible for finalizing a physical data model prior to implementation, it’s still a responsibility of ours to understand the above concepts so that we can work with models that include these design-time decisions. We may not be responsible for choosing all the indexes, but it’s important that our models have them.  We need to understand the trade-offs around datatype choices, data warehouse architectures and newer DBMS features such as spatial datatypes, XML columns and others.

The line of responsibility between DBA, developer, and DA is constantly moving and may vary based on your project’s environment and culture.  We must understand more about the target environments we are modeling for.

I hope to see you at the Portland SQL Saturday.  The SQL community is great at sharing knowledge and we data architects need to be part of that sharing.  It’s free, there will be prizes, and it’s fun.  Be there.

Are You Turbo Encabulating Your Presentations?

Jul 26, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data Modeling, Professional Development, Speaking  //  1 Comment

I presented half of a training course a while ago and the other presenter was really big on keeping to the agenda and the times allotted to each topic.  I’m a stickler for ending on time, so I respect that.  However, the presenter was so committed to the plan that he at several points refused to answer questions from the audience, even when the questions were about the meaning of an acronym or one of the many buzzwords sprinkled throughout his slides and narrative.  At one point a woman in the audience insisted that he define the terms on one slide.  He cut her off and suggested that she get some outside training on the topic.  I was shocked.  These attendees were new to the topics.  There were no prerequisites to the one day course.  If this had been a one hour session at a conference, I could see wanted to defer some questions in the name of time. However, this was an on-site training course for a single corporation.  There were big bucks being charged and outcomes were expected in return.  This presenter, by insisting that he get through the material whether or not the attendees were understanding what he was saying, was not doing his job.

I thought of him as I was in the process of migrating posts from our previous blog and came across this video on the Turbo Encabulator.


The Turbo Encabulator – Is this what you sound like?


Thank goodness he was responsible for only 4 hours of presenting just like our man in the video.  By the time I got up to do my part, the audience was in a fairly unfriendly mood.  I had to work hard at establishing some trust with the group to ensure them that my role for the final 4 hours was to ensure that they understood what they were supposed to understand.  I encouraged questions, altered timelines when more explanations were needed and responded with ad hoc examples when the slides weren’t good enough to get the point across.  And you know what?  I ended on time and managed to cover all the material in my part of the agenda.  That’s because I had allocated time in my plan to take questions, go back over material and to test audience members to ensure that we were ready to move on to the next topic.

I work really hard when I present to business users to avoid the normal IT bafflegab / dujamakicey lingo, but I know that we all struggle with this.

When I present at groups like DAMA (, I sometimes get feedback that I’ve used a term, such as ERD or LDM that might not be clearly understood by everyone in the crowd.  This is a tough call, as I want to make some assumptions about the audience at DAMA meetings so as to balance time allotted against the desire to deliver content that is useful for data architects.  It’s very painful to have a presenter speak at a DAMA or IRMAC meeting and have him spend half the time explaining what a database is and what a data model is.

So while I do encourage attendees to ask if I use a term or concept that is unfamiliar to them, most won’t ask.  Remember to watch your turbo encabulators when collaborating with others.  We are all guilty of this.   I actively encourage audience members to ask questions during my presentations just so I know whether or not I’m being clear.  If you are a presenter who does not allow any questions, you need to assume that everyone in the room has an equal understanding of the terms and implications of what you are covering or you need to allocate time to explain more, talk less.  In a training course I believe there is no excuse for not taking questions at all during the course.

Some tips on ensuring you aren’t Mr. Turbo Encabulator:

  1. Review your slides for TLAs and buzzwords.  Prepare a glossary for them if you don’t want to define them.
  2. Find a way to assess the make up of your audience.  Either poll the attendees before you speak or ask the organizers who will be attending. It’s always better to poll the audience, though.
  3. Tailor your presentation (not necessarily your slides) to the audience.
  4. Don’t try to give the same exact presentation every time to every audience.  They are different.
  5. Don’t be condescending when you explain something that you think everyone should know.  Even if everyone should know it.
  6. Allocate time for questions. Not just at the end, either.
  7. When in doubt, offer a definition of a term.
  8. Learn how to be happy-perky when you ask that one guy who is bogging down the presentation with questions/comments to save them for after the session.
  9. Keep track of frequently asked questions. Consider adding explanations to your slides.
  10. Thank the audience for asking questions.  Nothing says the audience is not that in to you if they don’t ask questions.

Thanks to @ldbjorh for the link to this video.

This post contains some content from an earlier post dated 4 Nov 2009.

My #SQLRally Speaker Evaluation Results

Jun 3, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Professional Development, Social Networking, Speaking  //  No Comments

Karen PresentationFor those of you who read our blog and don’t frequent SQL Server community events, you might find this post a bit surprising.  I found similar posts odd when I first came across them, but now I understand the role they play in the SQL Speaker community. 

Speakers at SQLPASS and related events often post the evaluation results they received, good or bad, along with the presenter’s analysis of how the presentation went and how the evaluations cause them to enhance their future presentations.  I’ve learned a lot from reading how other speakers have responded to their evaluation data, so I’m going to start sharing mine. 

SQLRally was held just a few weeks ago in Orlando, which fit perfectly into my schedule of waiting around for Endeavour to lift off.  I had already been scheduled to speak, so I didn’t have to travel far from Cocoa Beach to Orlando to attend.  My presentation was a Deep Dive, meaning I had a 90 minute time slot to present.  I had submitted a couple of proposals, but the one that was voted on by the SQL community was my professional development topic, Career Success in the Data Profession During Turbulent Times. I forgot to count how many people attended, but I’m pretty sure there were more than 40 people, probably more.   Nineteen people completed and turned in evaluations for the presentation, which I think is about the expected number.

The data (scale of 1-5, with 5 being best):

  • Overall Average:  4.754
  • Lowest Evaluation:  3.5, but evaluator gave no comments, so I’m not sure why he or she felt that way or what I could do to make the attendee happier.
  • Highest Evaluation:  5.0 (12 people gave this score)

The questions asked on the evaluation and my average for each:

  • How would you rate the Speaker’s ability to convey information and control the presentation? 4.737
  • How would you rate the Speaker’s knowledge of the subject? 4.895
  • How would you rate the accuracy of the session title and description to the actual session? 4.632
  • How would you rate the speaker’s use of the allocated time to cover the topic/session? 4.684
  • How would you rate your ability to follow along with the speaker’s examples/demonstrations? 4.842
  • Please rate the practicality of the information presented. 4.737

I’m happy with those results.  The lowest one, about the session title, is one that I struggle with.  For technical presentations, I find titles and abstracts can be really clear.  For professional development, I think that it’s harder to get a clear title that covers all the nuances of "how to do something better, regardless of what its".  So I work hard on the abstract. I have a slide with the same title of each of the points in the abstract to make sure there’s a good link to help people understand what we will be talking about.  A 4.6 is still good, but I’ll work on making that better.

Time allocation is tough. I make ending on time a very high priority.  It was funny that the speaker before me went more than 20 minutes over in his session.  I ended on time.  We covered all the material and had a huge amount of audience discussion, which is how I rate the success of my sessions.  That’s just my style.    I’m not much of a lecturer. 

Since this presentation focused somewhat on social media and getting others to market for you, I was glad that I didn’t have people feeling that was too much non-SQL content.  It’s always a risk when giving professional development topics at technical conferences.

The comments evaluators gave were very encouraging, too.

  Great Structured vs. unstructured presentation. Most audience involvement in a session I’ve seen here.

Like I said, that’s my style of presentation.  So it works well people audience members enjoy that.  I know some people don’t.  I have had evaluations that complained about the time wasted with audience people asking questions or offering different opinions. Sure, sometimes presentations get derailed by those things, but I allocate a significant portion of my presentation time for these discussions.  I’ve always wondered how to set people’s expectations about that.

Excellent slides. Focus on topical ideas, not text in bullets.  Kept focus on stories.  Great presentation.

Also good to hear.  I’ve had people complain in the past that they don’t like my Zen-like simple slides; they want lots of text to use as a reference later.  I’ve considered adding notes to my slides in PowerPoint to meet those people’s needs.

She explained everything well.

I’m glad.  I was glad I had 90 minutes so that I could spend extra time explaining the social networks and what I meant by "networking".

Got off topic for a while at the beginning.

I’m not sure which part that was. There were some discussions that went on for a while I and I had to move on to other topics.  But I was happy to see such an engaged audience.  I will work harder at focus.

Discussed a lot of how to hire instead of how to position yourself for advancing your career.

That is excellent feedback.  I did talk a lot about hiring people, as did some audience members.  I can’t tell many stories about advancing through employment opportunities, though, because I’m in the services industries and have been my own boss for more than 15 years.  My intent on telling interviewer stories was to show how hard it is to hire someone if they can’t explain well what they know and what they do.  Next time I’ll work harder at making that distinction.

Knowledge is power.  Know your profession’s mandate.

I like this statement, but it was giving as a comment under "what could the speaker do to improve future presentations" and I don’t know what it means.  If you gave this comment and want to explain it a bit more, I’d love to hear more.

Not enough of this is being discussed in "DBA-dom"

I think it is great that SQLPASS and SQLRally have professional development tracks, so some of it is being talked about at these events.   Many user group and SQL Saturday organizers are worried about putting professional development topics on their schedules, since some members don’t like non-technical presentations.  If you do, you should talk to your local organizers to tell them you think it is important.

As with other presenters, Karen seems to be the leader in data architecting and IT resource field.  Kudos.

Great natural speaker.

Could discuss all day, very thought provoking.

Absolutely awesome.

There’s a tremendous demand and a need or this. There’s a business here. Most valuable presentation of SQLRally.

Those makes me smile. It’s always nice to get this sort of feedback.  Share some love if you enjoyed the presentation you spent time at.

So thank you for all of you who took the time to share your thoughts about the presentation.  Speakers crave this sort of feedback.  As other speakers have blogged, speakers have traveled away from the families, taken days to prepare for their presentations, rehearsed them, fretted about them, planned for them, and generally spent a great deal of time trying to make that 60-90 minutes the best session of your day.  Do them a favour by spending 5 minutes filling out the evaluations. And please do the hard part: If you didn’t rate them a 5, tell them why.  We really do want to know.


Speaker Lessons Learned – Free Advice That’s Paid For

Jun 3, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Professional Development, Speaking  //  16 Comments

Jen McCown (blog | twitter) has called for a Un-SQL Friday blog post on Speaker Lessons Learned.  Since I speak frequently, I thought I’d whip up a quick post to cover some of my tips on making a presentation look it it was all planned.  I’ve been giving presentations for so long I can’t even tie  these recommendations to any one event that caused me to adopt these practices.  However, they are all most likely due to either a failure on my part or a failure I’ve witnessed while attending an event.

I once co-presented with someone who showed up to do a half-day training event and he didn’t bring his own slides, nor handouts, nor any contingencies.  I had a copy of his slides, just because I wanted to see them before they were presented. The audience wanted to …well, let’s just say they didn’t feel they got the value they paid for. You don’t want to be that guy.  You want to come across as being all in control.  Even if on the inside you are quaking with fear.

Contingencies Will Make You Look Super Sauvé 

I’m big on having  duplicates, backups and just-in-case options.  Some people, like the one I live with, think that I overplan for something to go wrong.  Having options in place makes me a more confident speaker.  I can sleep better the night before.  I am more relaxed when I enter the room.  So overall even if I never make use of these, it makes me better at what I do.  This may seem excessive, but they are all pretty much part of my process and each takes only a minute or two to do.  The benefit exceeds the cost by a huge amount.

  1. Don’t just have a backup;  have a backup farm of backups.  For every item involved in my presentation (slides, demos, code, databases, data, etc.) I have many copies stashed all over the place. These backups or copies are both at the component level and as an entire package.  Here are the likely places I’ve stored these files:SQLSentry Bottle Opener USB
    • Dropbox: Dropbox (affiliate link) is a free service that will store your files on the internet *and* on your local machine and magically keep them all in sync.  You can purchase more space if you need it, but the free space will hold many presentations and scripts.  If you use my affiliate link above, we both get extra free space, too.  I have Dropbox installed on my phone, iPad, netbook, laptops and desktops.  My files are just always there.  Note, your organization may have policies against storing company data on such services, so check first.
    • Thumb drive/USB Stick: I make sure that all my materials are also on a USB storage device, too, just in case there is no connectivity in that hotel basement meeting room.  This way, if my laptop dies or it won’t cooperate with the data projector, I can borrow someone else’s machine to present with, at least the slides.  Did I tell you that I have a Bottle Opener USB drive from SQLSentry? That’s two contingencies in one!
    • Phone/iPad: I also put the slides on my Phone or Tablet in case I need to e-mail them to someone to print handouts or to possibly even use as presentation device.  My iPad has a dongle so that I can use it to present the slides.   That’s another two contingencies in one.
    • Server/Desktop:  If there is connectivity, I can also remote desktop into a machine back at my office to run demos or to do the presentation completely from the office machine.  Since I usually develop my materials on my desktop so no extra work to have it available.
    • Email:  I sometimes even e-mail myself a copy of all the materials so that they are there in my inbox, just in case.
  2. Have a plan for when other technology fails you.  It’s not just your slides that can wrong.
    • Projector: What will you do if the data projector isn’t working? Or the projector is very dim.  Or very old and doesn’t work well?  What if the person who was supposed to bring it doesn’t show up?  This has happened to me a lot over the years, more than is acceptable.  So I bring one printout of my slides with me to the presentation. If the projector isn’t there or is not cooperating, I ask the organizers if they want to make copies for handouts.  Having a printed copy ready makes that process easier to do.  This can also help mitigate missing screens.  Having handouts instead of a projector isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing at all.  Some people go as far as travelling with their own projector.
    • Room set up:  What would you do if your presentation counted on flip charts or whiteboards and they weren’t there?  What if the room you are presenting in is very long and narrow and 3/4 of the audience can’t really see your slides?  I arrive at my presentations at least an hour a head of time to check out the room and make plans for what to do if the room set up is not what I expected.  This also gives me time to request flip charts or other items.anti-theft outlet   In some extreme cases, I’ve been able to arrange a different room.
    • Power problems:  What if the outlet is 20 feet from where your laptop is supposed to be and there are no extension cords?  Is your laptop fully charged? Will it make it through your whole presentation?  I travel with an extension cord but sometimes a hotel doesn’t allow them or has anti-theft plugs to keep people from "stealing power".  Have I told you how unhappy this makes me when I see these special plugs in public places?  Sure there are designed for applications where you don’t want a plug to be accidentally ripped out, but when the entire conference center has these, you know they are there to protect the electricity, not the device that is plugged in.
    • Anything else: There are so many other things that can go wrong with the facilities.  Having a generic "what if I had to stand up in front of people and just talk for 90 minutes" plan is going to go a long way in dealing with all kinds of things the universe might throw at you.  Sure you might not be able to do demos and your presentation might not be as strong as if everything went perfectly.  You can still deliver a ton of value just by interacting with people during that 60-90 minutes.  Don’t underestimate the value that you personally add to the presentation.
  3. Don’t panic.  I would guess that every single person in your audience has had something go wrong during a meeting or presentation, so they will have empathy for you and the situation you are in.  If you panic, though, you won’t be able to recover well and make a smooth transition into delivering value given the circumstance.
    • The audience wants you to win, really.  They might not be happy your laptop died or that the projector doesn’t work, but they want you to keep your focus on delivering the knowledge you came to share.  Sure, there might be a couple of sadists out there who enjoy it when speakers fail, but even they don’t want to sit through an hour and half of flailing arms and incoherent utterances. So have your contingencies and plans in place.  Make that smooth, suave segue into your other plan and keep going.
    • Don’t keep apologizing.  Yes, you feel bad that things are going to all heck.  Yes, you should apologize.  But don’t keep saying I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.  Gosh, I’m sorry… That’s just focusing on the fact that things aren’t going as planned. Apologize, then move to your Plan B (or C or D) and you’ll look calm, cool and collected.  In other words, act like a professional.
    • Don’t blame anyone.  Later, if you want to conduct a forensic investigation to find out who did it and have them prosecuted, do it.  Don’t stand at the front of the room, blaming the hotel, the staff, the volunteers, your mother and your dog.  Even if they all did get together and sabotage your event.  No one in the audience cares why it happened.  They just want you to fix it.  By focusing on blame, you haven’t made the audience have any greater respect for you.
    • Don’t quit.  Whether or not you flew across the globe or just walked down the hallway to make your presentation, the audience carved time in their day to hear what you had to say.  Say it.  Work really hard to meet the same objectives that you set out to do.  Deliver value.  I’ve seen speakers cancel their presentation in front of 200 people because they didn’t have a backup of their slides.  They had a complete fail instead of a partial win.  If you are so dependent on your slides that you can’t deliver any value at all on your own, maybe you should just email your slides to everyone and save everyone a bunch of time.

Finally, I highly recommend you find a copy of Lily Walter’s What to Say When You are Dying on the Platform.  Walters goes over a zillion things that could go wrongimage and how to avoid them…as well as suggesting snarky responses that diffuse the tension and get you moving forward again.  This was written in 1995, so it might not cover some of the current types of technology failures, but you’d have the right sort of responses to deal with minor and major issues during your presentation.

I guess this whole post comes down to being prepared and having confidence when something you wanted to go right didn’t.   Have lots of backups, have a plan, and don’t panic.  That’s all advice I’ve paid for, so you can have it for free. 

Break a leg!

2 Days Left to Let #SQLPASS Know What Sessions You Want (And You Like Us, Right?)

May 18, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Data, Data Modeling, Database, Professional Development, Speaking  //  No Comments

The organizers of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) have opened up abstract voting for the PASS Summit, being held in Seattle, 11-14 October.  There are a gazillion amazing sessions that were submitted, but you can help direct which ones get picked to be included in the Summit program by voting on the session proposals you prefer.  Voting closes on 20 May 2011. 

RobDrysdaleSQLSatRob and I have both submitted sessions.  Rob has submitted a Professional Development topic:

Getting What You Deserve: 7 Steps to Gain Respect in Your Organization [100]
Session Category: Regular Session (75 minutes)
Session Track: Professional Development
Speaker(s): Rob Drysdale

Too often we hear people complaining that they don’t get respect in their organizations or that they aren’t involved in projects when they should be. It seems like our organizations don’t understand what we do, why it’s necessary and the overall value that we can bring to the organization. On the flip side, they are ready to blame us for all the problems. This session will provide the audience with insight into why this lack of respect exists, how we got here and how we can change it.

I’m biased, but I really like this presentation because Rob is giving it from the point of view of a business user and an IT professional. He has stories about his experiences working on both sides of the table: as a subject matter expert (SME) and a project manager and business analyst. He knows what works in getting resources from the business budget, how to get quality time with a SME, and what DEFINITELY not to say if you need the business organization to do something to make your projects better.

You need to hear what he has to share. Go vote now.  I’ll wait until you come back…..


KarenBarbiesPresentingI was invited to submit spotlight sessions due to good feedback scores for both my 24 Hours of PASS and my session at last year’s Summit.  For the summit invite I could submit any session, so I submitted my favourite one, Database Design Contentious Issues.  I have been giving this presentation for almost 15 years and guess what? We are all still a contentious bunch of data professionals.

Database Design Contentious Issues – The Debate [200]
Session Category: Spotlight Session (90 minutes, Invitation only)
Session Track: Application and Database Development
Speaker(s): Karen Lopez

A highly interactive and popular session where attendees evaluate the options and best practices of common and advanced design issues, such as:

* Natural vs. Surrogate keys,

* Varchar(1) and other Varying datatypes,

* Identity Properties,

* Naming Standards: Useful or Crazy?,


…and others.

This is a physical interactive, irreverent and funny approach to topics we data professionals work with every day.

Bring your votes, your contentions, and your opinions. They will be rewarded.

(This is the fun  presentation with all the sticky notes and voting)

Five Physical Database Design Blunders and How to Avoid Them [200]

Session Category: Spotlight Session (90 minutes, Invitation only)
Session Track: Application and Database Development
Speaker(s): Karen Lopez
What’s going on in your physical data models and databases? Who actually decides what goes into the database design? How do you choose your primary keys? How do you implement them? Are GUIDs bad, good or "it depends"? Are your datatypes the right ones for the data? How can you measure the cost, benefits and risks of any design recommendation? Are there universally good design practices? Universally bad design practices?
In this presentation we discuss five physical database design mistakes that cost you dearly: performance snags, development delays, bugs, and professional respect. Data professionals are often tasked to prepare physical data models, yet these skills usually overlap those of other team members and this overlap can lead to contention, confusion, and complacency.
In this presentation, you’ll learn about the five blunders, how to find them as well as many tips on how to avoid them. You learn how to talk about and defend your design recommendations and how to ensure that you have the information to demonstrate they are the right designs for your project.
Bring your armor, snark and humor. Blunders can be fun no matter how bad they are.

Because that last session was invited as being one of the top presenters at the March 2011 24Hours of PASS, I have a guaranteed spot on the summit.  I can’t tell you how happy that makes me.  Of course, the Database Design Contentious Issues presentation is my absolute favourite presentation to give, I’d love to have it picked. It’s also the only presentation I have that MUST be given in person – not webinar friendly.  A tough but very happy spot to be in.

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