Monthly Archives: January 2011

A History of Business Intelligence

A short post for a Friday!

I’m finishing up my first 2 weeks at my new job and new position.  I don’t think I’ve been in SSMS for more than 3 hours in the last 2 weeks.    This is a big change for me I’ve spent the better part of 12 years in the trenches with SQL server either Administering, Architecting or querying SQL Server.  I’ve spent much of my time reviewing Business Intelligence tools that are out on the market.  I’m working on some blog posts on things to look for and some of my impressions of these tools but until those are complete enjoy this short post and this very well done You tube video about Business Intelligence.  It’s not slanted any one way in my opinion and it doesn’t feel like its’ trying to sell a specific product.  Take 10 minutes when you have time and check it out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1y5jBESLPE&feature=related

2010 Goals(Resolutions) for #Tsql2sday

It’s a good thing I was being lazy very busy during the holidays and the beginning of the year.  Now I can post my resolutions Goals for my #TSQL2sday post.

So first Housekeeping what is T-SQL Tuesday?

From Adam Machanic (Blog| Twitter) via Midnight DBA (Blog|Twitter)

“Each month a blog will host the party, and about a week before the second Tuesday of the month a theme will be posted. Any blogger that wishes to participate is invited to write a post on the chosen topic. The event is called “T-SQL Tuesday”, but any post that is related to both SQL Server and the theme is fair game. So feel free to post about SSIS, SSRS, Java integration, or whatever other technologies you’re working with in conjunction with SQL Server. Even if your post includes no T-SQL we still want to see it.”

I mentioned last year I’m not a big believer in resolutions but I do have goals for next year.  I’m going to review my goals from last year and then set my tech goals for this year.

Last year I listed my goals on this blog post.

For the first goal was to blend my passion of photography and the PASS Summit together.  I achieved this goal in many ways.

  1. I helped to organize the Pre-Summit Photowalk which was a big hit!
  2. I purchased an Eye-Fi card and uploaded all my pictures to flickr as they  happened. So those that were not at the summit could interact and see what was going on.  I’m happy to say I had over 4000 hits on my flickr stream from those tuning in to see those pictures.  I was really happy with how this ended up.

I wanted to put on a SQL Saturday and I did. With the help of a great crew we organized and put on SQL Saturday #54.  It was a great first start and we’ll be doing it again later this year.

I wanted to present more.  I met the goal of 5 times by presenting at my 2 code camps the SQL Saturday and several user group meetings.  I did not get a chance to attend other SQL Saturdays (besides crashing the Chicago after party).

My last major goal was organization.  I met these both at home and work with getting things organized.  I plan to continue this through 2011.

Goals for 2011

So on to the important part.  2011 is starting out as a big question for me.  I will be on day 2 of a new job and new role when this post goes live.  My underlying Theme/Goal for this year is once again Organization.  My life is usually chaos and I strive very hard to get that in order and most of my goals will reflect that.

  1. 2 Technical blog posts a month.  I plan to blog weekly as I started last year but I don’t have enough good technical content and I need to change that.
  2. 3 solid presentations.  I have 2 presentations currently I feel comfortable giving and really enjoy I need to add another one to that.
  3. Learn other technologies. I’m going into a company that has open source, oracle and many other technologies that are different for me and I’m looking forward to embracing them and learn more about them.
  4. Learn Powershell.  With my new role I know that I’m going to need automation and ways of gathering data in lots of different places. In the past I’ve always used SSIS for this but want to branch out now and learn Powershell to give me more options.
  5. Pass Cert tests.  I have never taken the MS cert tests and I think it’s about time I did.  Hopefully someday I can try for an MCM but even if I don’t succeed in getting the MCM certification I want to learn the knowledge that is required for it.

These are my major Tech goals for 2011.  I am really looking forward to this year and what it holds for me.

Giving your notice Post 3/3 The Last day on the job

This is the final installment in a blog series about leaving your employer.  Series starts here.

This might take you a little more than the last day but as soon as you have finished wrapping up what the company needs for documentation/knowledge transfer you should work on these items.

Cleanup

I don’t mean finding that tuna on rye that you lost in your office 2 months ago.  Depending on how long you have been at a company you could have amassed a lot of stuff. Not only physical but virtual as well, perhaps you have been a good steward of your own data and there is no personal items on your computer usually this is not the case.  Go through your computer and make sure you have removed the personal files you feel that you still need or delete the ones you don’t.  Leave any company items in tact on your computer in case the company has a need for them in the future. If you have lots of physical stuff in your office brining a bin or some boxes to get it all out is a good idea to get around making hundreds of trips to the car.

Saying See You Later

I don’t like to say goodbye on the last day. This is because I see many people I work with later at a Code Camp or SQL Saturday or user group meeting.  The world is getting smaller all the time and we run into each other more and more I know I’ll run into many of the people again.  This is also a good way to let everyone know you’re leaving. Perhaps someone missed the memo on the exact day or didn’t get the message from your boss whatever the reason it’s better to let them know you won’t be there tomorrow to fix the problem when the server goes down.

The Final Email

Depending on the size of your company sending a goodbye email to ALL might not be a good idea.  I typically reserve my final email to my immediate team and perhaps a few more individuals.  What you say in this email is entirely up to you.  My suggestion is keep it professional and remember you will most likely work with them or see them again in the community.

Leaving a company is not something many of us really want to talk about but it still is an important aspect of our working lives and hopefully this helps people to understand what to expect.  As I mentioned earlier this is a general experiences that I have had with companies.  Every company is different and these things will change for you. Make sure to stay professional in whatever you do when leaving and that will help you in the future.

Giving your notice Post 2/3 Short Timer Syndrome

This is a follow up in a blog series about leaving your employer.  Series starts here.

I’m sure most have heard of it before.  You’ve given your two weeks’ notice and now you can relax and sit back for 2 weeks and watch all the MCM videos out there.  “What are they going to do fire you?” Not so fast, I typically find my last 2 weeks in some companies to be the busiest times I have been there.  Once the company knows you are leaving they want to do everything they can to get any knowledge you have about the systems you have worked on out of you.  They are worried about someone not being able to do your role when you’re gone or to manage that large batch processing engine you wrote 2 years ago.

Wrap up Projects

The company and role you played will primarily dictate what the priority is for you in your last two weeks.  If you were working on major projects they will probably suggest finishing any major coding work and getting that checked in and handed off to someone else.  This would not be the time to start any new projects but mainly to finish up any that you have been working on.  If you are in the middle of the project and can’t complete it before the bomb explodes then you’ll most likely have a person shadowing you so they can take over when you’re gone.

Brain Dump

The company will want a Knowledge Transfer/Brain Dump/Documentation.  This is the time you go back to all the projects you have done and either refresh the documentation (we all keep good documentation right?) or write the documentation that has been missing from your projects.  This could take a short or long time depending on how much you have worked on and how long you have been there.  If you have a good cross trained team that you work with as well this might be less work since the others already know what they need to know.  Either way this is an important step, as I mentioned in the previous post it’s important to meet the companies’ needs during this process. I’m always happy to teach what I know and document the processes the last thing I want from any company I leave is for them to have a hard time managing something I’ve done.  When I complete my documentation of the items I typically zip the files together into a package and then either Email or place them on a share for my Boss to send out to whoever needs them.

Meet With Departments/Project Managers

Your boss may take care of this for you or it might be on your plate but meet with department heads/managers and find out anything that they might need to have documented that you may not have thought of.  You may not be able to meet the demand of all the groups.  If you make a list of what is needed and check off what you have done this gives you something to show that you made an effort to complete everything they asked for.

Next we’ll wrap up the series with the last day.

Giving your notice Post 1/3 Moving Day

As I mentioned in my last post I took some time off for the holidays.  Of course what I didn’t mention in that post is that the New Year brings a new position for me as well.  I’ve accepted a position as a Director of Data management at a new company and will begin work next week.  I’m really looking forward to the position as I will be able to work with some other RDBMS technologies that I have had little exposure to in the past( Mysql, Oracle).  I will also get to design new reporting and DataWarehouse systems. I don’t know about you but that’s fun to me.  None of my community activities will change I’m even ramping up some of them even more since we are talking a lot more on at the Utah Geek Events with running the Code Camp and assisting with the Pod Camp as well.  This is going to be a big year for me and I look forward to it.

Lots of people have discussed what to do as a new DBA and your first days on the job.  What about your last days on the job?  Perhaps it’s just a given everyone understands what you need to do when you leave a company or intend to leave a company?  I figured I would get some blog posts out on what I typically do and how I handle leaving a company.  Here’s the first section and I’ll get the additional items in future blog posts.  While reading these keep in mind they are general suggestions that have served me well through the years every company is different and you will run into different situations.

Communication

Let me just start with saying Communication is key in any position.  How you work with your manager and others around you is very important. Before you give any company that 2 week notice please communicate with your manager if you’re concerned about certain things.  If they are not aware of your displeasure or issues you have they cannot attempt to fix them and that’s not fair to you or the company.  This is just a general rule there are cases where you need to get out of a position because of unfair treatment or monetary concerns.

The 2 week notice

So how do you give your 2 weeks?  Most companies will say they require something in writing. I 100% agree with this idea. I have yet to leave a position without giving an email that would give the details to clearly let the company know I’m leaving and when (It’s in writing because they can print it). I always CC the email to an external address so I have a record of the email and when it was sent.   I always follow up that email with a meeting with my boss. I’ll typically send it out early in the morning so that I can meet with him/her later that day.  The follow up meeting to me is very important, I value all the people I have worked with in the past and will most likely work with again in the future so I want to do my best to make them comfortable with my decisions.  I also want to give them the chance to discuss those decisions.

The Counter Offer

For some you may be given a counter offer from your current employer to try and keep you.  I have never accepted a Counter Offer after giving my two weeks.  I typically suggest to people that they need to make up their mind before getting to this stage.  Make sure this is what you want and you are firm with this decision.  No matter how great the offer is most likely the reasons you were willing to leave still exist.  You are also seen differently from that point forward from the company since your loyalty will be in question.  This is why I suggest good communication, if you are unhappy in your job then you need to let the company know sooner rather than later that you are unhappy.

This is first in the series next up I’ll discuss how to spend your final two weeks.