My New Role

The news is out at work, so I can post it on my blog now.

Two weeks ago, I started a new job. I kept the same desk, laptop, and network account. My new role is somewhat of a promotion.

Long story short, we’ve merged the SQL Server teams across multiple parts of the organization, and I’ve been tasked with leading the combined team. The direction from my management team is substantial: reduce costs, leverage our quantity of scale, and standardize everything. That’s no small order. The good news is that I have a team of eight dedicated DBAs on my team, and we have the ability to do some really cool stuff.

I have a ton of work to do over the next year. We’re looking to take the best of breed from all of our systems and tools. For example, our R&D group had a better backup tool, but our hosting group had better maintenance processes. Now I just need to get a handle on all of the projects that are currently underway and determine what value my team can add instead of just building servers and backing them up.

This is a huge step in my career. My boss and his director have been incredibly supportive. The best part of this whole thing is that I get to help improve our client experience.

Fall Speakers for NESQL

Here it is in early July, and I’m already lining up speakers for the fall. We typically schedule our speakers three or four months in advance.

We always try to get a great speaker for our September meeting. And this year is no exception. We’re kicking off the season with Mark Souza (twitter) from Microsoft.

If you’re in the Boston area, please join us. You can RSVP on our Meetup site.

Speaking at the PASS Summit

Speaking at the PASS Summit

It happened. It finally happened. After five years of trying, it finally happened.

Last week, PASS announced the speaker lineup for the 2015 summit, and I’ve been selected to speak.

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It’s really easy to beat up on PASS over speaker selection. The simple fact is that PASS gets several thousand session submissions for just a few hundred slots. It means a lot of people get disappointed. The competition is pretty fierce. I’m totally honored and just a bit humbled to have been selected this year.

My topic is Leadership Without Borders: Working with Offshore Teams. If you’re coming to Summit, I look forward to seeing you.

 

 

Importance of Vacations

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a vacation–an entire week out of the office with my work phone turned off and tucked away in my desk drawer at work. I intentionally locked out my network account and went dark. I needed a break. And that’s exactly what I got. After a few days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for SQL Saturday, I was off to Berlin for some much needed rest. It also gave me the opportunity to do something I love to do, and that’s flying. I used some miles to upgrade to Delta ONE from Atlanta to Amsterdam, which allowed me to sit on the upper deck of a 747. All the while, my boss would be the escalation point for my team.

My company has a couple of policies around vacations, and they’re interesting. First, all employees are required to take five consecutive business days out of the office and aren’t permitted to conduct company business. Some key employees are required to take ten consecutive business days. While this sounds like a very employee-friendly policy, and it is,  it has a very interesting secondary rationale. Keep in mind that our parent company is one of the world’s largest financial institutions. We have people who have access to highly sensitive financial systems. We use employee vacations as a fraud protection measure. The idea is that if someone is out of the office and they’ve been doing something dishonest, it’ll be easier detect them while they’re not in the office. And if you’re doing something dishonest, it’s much harder to cover your tracks while out of the office. It makes some sense.

I have another reason why I think vacations are important. It helps us learn what we don’t know. When a member of my team is on vacation, I inevitably find process gaps or opportunities for automation. While I’m on vacation, my team will be going to my boss will get to deal with all of the stuff I typically keep off his plate. He’ll also be fielding approvals and escalations from my team. This means that when I come back from a vacation I expect the conversation to include a few “Why are we doing….?” and “I didn’t realize you were doing….” discussions. If I’m doing something he doesn’t like, I’m going to hear about it. At the same time, he’s going to see a lot of the value of what I add to the organization.

Presenting at SQL Saturday Paris #sqlsatparis

I got word yesterday that I will be presenting at SQL Saturday #420 in Paris. This will be my first international SQL Server event. I’ll be presenting Transaction Log Internals: Virtual Log Files. As many times as I’ve given this presentation, it never gets old. Although I will say that it’s a little less exciting in SQL 2014 than it was in earlier versions. I’ll also be representing PASS at this event.

Paris is an incredible city, and I haven’t really spent much time there in a long time. So I’m going to spend a few days to give myself an opportunity to fall in love with the city of lights again.

Presenting at the PASS DBA Virtual Chapter

On July 8, I will be presenting for the PASS DBA Virtual Chapter. I haven’t presented for this group in a couple of years, so I’m pretty excited about this. I’ll be presenting Do More With Less: SQL CMS and MSX.

The hardest part of this group is that it’s done via webcast. I have trouble juggling the demo, presentation, and questions all at the same time. This time around, I’ve asked my new friend Andy Mallon (blog | twitter) to be my moderator. I can only imagine how much fun this is going to be.

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