Summit Session Feedback

I have been following the conversations Speakers have been posting on the feedback they received from their Summit 2016 submissions.  Steve Jones has a comprehensive list on his blog.   I want to participate in the conversation since I too experienced feedback that praised and blasted the submission that has left me confused and we as a community can all learn from and improve this process.  My comments on the feedback is immediately after the feedback.

I worked very hard on my submission, utilized the PASS feedback service and did run my abstracts by a few peers, including other speakers.  I feel they were well done as did nearly all of the reviewers .  I was not selected this year or last as I am up against some very well known and excellent presenters in the SSRS space.  Congratulations to my peers who were selected, in particular those of you “First Timers”.  I will join you one day!

I submitted three SSRS related session.  Two I have given numerous times at SQL Saturdays and one new “2016” session I created specifically with the hopes of it being picked for Summit.

Introduction to SQL Reporting Services  (100 Level)

Are you tired of users constantly coming to you for data?  Would like to be able to quickly and easily enable your uses to go get the data themselves?  Do you simply not have the budget/executive buy-in to purchase a BI solution?  In this session you will see how easy this often overlooked and underutilized feature of SQL Server is to use.  The session will start with a quick overview of some reporting examples followed by a live demo that will cover the basics of developing, publishing and using an SSRS report.  It will cover all aspects of report creation from connecting to the data source through putting the data on the page and publishing to the report server.  You will learn how to use this powerful feature of SQL Server that can relieve you from data delivery tasks and thrill your end users.  Return to the office and present meaningful data to your end users with minimal time and effort with the tips learned in this session.


Very well written abstract. Makes me want to attend the session.
grammar issues
What version? Seems old. Seems boring. We want new SSRS. We want visualizations!
Well written and to the point.
While the idea of an beginner-level session for SSRS is sound, the central premise of the abstract – the idea that Reporting Services is overlooked and underutilized – is incorrect.
Well written abstract, but the topic and level isn’t interesting enough in my book. Well defined goals.
Really well written abstract with clear goals and a nicely developed outline.   I think the topic is a really good one though certainly not as appealing in today’s world as ones that are focused on the Power stack.  Though as the writer states still just as important.   Good abstract, and one that people just starting out in either a DBA or BI role and have no experience in SSRS should find appealing.
The topic is not so new but the goals mentions sounds exciting.
I like the straight forward approach of the abstract – this is important stuff!
Learning goals are spot on!

My Comments:

If the purpose of feedback is to help improve then 2 word comments like “grammar issues” doesn’t help.  I stand by my statement that SSRS is “underutilized and overlooked”.  I am under the impression that the abstract review process is separate from the session selection process and am confused by comments like “old”, “boring” and “we want new”.  Isn’t that for the session selection group to determine and not the abstract reviewers?

I would like to elaborate on the entire premise of “new”.  Many of us, many, will not see SQL 2016 or even 2014 for years.  We need and want sessions on using what we do day in and day out.  Don’t get me wrong, we will attend “new features” sessions but I at least load up my schedule with knowledge I can take back to the office and utilize right away.

Better Report Management and Development Techniques  (300 Level)

Are you already using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), but just not loving it? Has it become clumsy, hard to manage or simply not great? In this demo heavy session designed for users who are familiar with Report Manager, you will learn how you can simplify and unify your Reporting Services implementation. See how to make your reports pop with polish while shortening your development time and easing your maintenance efforts. An exploration of Shared Data Sets will show how to reduce data discrepancies and improve performance. Learn how to leverage the power of Linked Reports to reduce the number of reports needed and to streamline report publication.

The session will conclude with a look at my “Ultimate Footer”, which you can use on any version of Reporting Services, that shows report utilization, performance details, stored procedures and data sets used and discover any inline TSQL being abused. Leave excited about how great your Reporting Services implementation can be


Good abstract. Sounds like a good session.
Very polished and engaging abstract.
This sounds like a good session. The abstract wanders a little, but it does convey the intent.
I’m really not quite sure what to make of this abstract. The topic is a good one, though I’m a bit unsure of the abstract. Is it the fact that the abstract writer isn’t fluent enough in English to get his points across properly, or just badly written in general? I’d reccomend that the submitter ask for an abstract writing session next time.
Job well done pointing out the reasons for attending the session. If this is where you hurt, get in here. God job

I like learning goal 3 🙂

Well outlined abstract with demos. If it adds some new features in 2016, that will be more attractive.
Well written and to the point.

I am simply going to throw out and ignore the clearly out of place reviewer’s comment and its spelling error and move on.  I highly suspect it was not even for this session…

Reporting Services 2016: New Features & Smart Migration Strategy  (300 Level)

With the release of SQL Server 2016, Reporting Services is finally getting some love! In this session you will get a brief peek at some of the new features and functionality including a look at the new Report Manager interface and the new control we have over the parameter placement on screen.

We will then dive into how to use a custom report, based on the ReportServer database transaction log table, to see which reports are actually being used and use that report to determine a smart strategy for which reports to migrate to a new 2016 installation. You will see how to combine this understanding of active reports with the power of linked reports to simplify your Reporting Services implementation as you convert to SQL Server 2016.

The session will conclude with a look at my “Ultimate Footer”, which you can use on any version of Reporting Services, that shows report utilization, performance details, stored procedures and data sets used and discover any inline TSQL being abused.


Good abstract. Sounds like a good session.
was this ultimate footer abstract submitted multiple times?
The content sounds good overall.
Well written and to the point.
Good topic. Most of the abstract is well-written and clear. However, the last sentence about the “Ultimate Footer” has little relation to the rest of the abstract. That part seems like an advertisement and should be excluded.
Nice topic featuring new things in SSRS 2016.
Well written abstract on interesting topic

My Comments:

Yup…  I added in the section on the report footer when I saw I had enough space.  That section has been so well received I wanted to include it in this session and botched the delivery.  My bad.

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Server Names DO Matter

No they don’t!  Not really.  I read some posts recently on the age old debate on “fun” names verses “functional names” and thought I would weigh in with my own story.  Is “Prod-CA-01” really any better than “BigBoy”?  You still have to learn, ideally document, what that server is doing.  If you include that function in the name, SQL01, you run the risk of it not matching if the server takes on other roles or changes roles entirely.  You still have to learn what it is doing, which SQL functions is it performing, as even the smallest of shops have multiple SQL servers.

Ten years ago when I was at Claim Jumper Restaurants we converted from 2 racks of Compaq servers in a glorified broom closet to a half rack of virtualized servers in a colo 23 miles away.  With our bare bones budget we had just 2 VM hosts for the 8 or so servers we consolidated to.  We made the most of it with fun names.  We were going to have to “learn” which server was doing what so why not enjoy it. Keeping with the Forty Niner theme of our company we had the following names:

  • Smith & Wesson were the two VM Ware hosts
  • Motherlode was the SQL data warehouse server
  • PonyExpress was the Exchange server
  • WellsFargo was the financial system server

We named our SharePoint portal where all of the SSRS reports lived The Mineshaft.  We used The Mineshaft to get to the Motherlode of data which we delivered via the PonyExpress.  Sure beat MailProd01, SQLProd01……

At a place I worked at in the early nineties we got one of those fancy laser printers from Hewlett Packard.  It was named Huey.  When we got another one a few years later it was name Dewey.  I bet you can guess what we named the 3rd one we got!

When I got to Del Taco many of the servers were named after famous artist:  Davinci, Monet, Gaugin, etc..  The rest were named after mythological Gods or star systems and Today we have:  Polaris, Atlas, Apollo, Antares, Sirius, Orion.  Our latest “child” is Hades, our archive server were we send all that old data that we don’t want in our main database servers but don’t want to ditch.  Our virtual desktop server is Hydra (who lost out to Medusa).

Have fun with your naming convention.  You still have to learn who is doing what and the new guys get it figured out pretty quick.



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I think Community is very important.  I grew up in Eugene Oregon, a not small college town, in a neighborhood adjacent to the University of Oregon campus and worked just blocks away in the downtown district.  I remember going to the Saturday Market as  kid and seeing all of the handcrafted arts, local musicians and entertainers and of course the food.   A true “Farmers Market” long before today’s version. A wonderful sense of community permeated my upbringing.

Fast forward though a decade of living in Santa Barbara, California, another “small town” with a great sense of community, and a five year stint in Houston, TX and I find myself in Orange County, CA.  The home of the “Master Planned Community” that has no real feeling of community at all.  Suburban car life, with no “downtown” or “main street”.  There are pockets of such areas, but not near me on the edge of Irvine.  I diverge….

In the last 2+ years I spent over 100 days volunteering at a nearby Boy Scout camp teaching fishing and archery to kids, both young and old, and working to build the Campmaster Corp of volunteers in order to support the 5,000 plus campers we serve each year.  That season of life is over and I am now embarking on an adventure with the SQL Community.  I have been active in user groups over the years having founded an OnBase user group and co-led a SharePoint user group for many years.  I am now active in my local PASS chapter and host our monthly meeting at my workplace.  I recently had my first SQL Saturday presentation, have 2 more coming up later this month and hope to present at Summit one day soon.  I really enjoy teaching, sharing experiences and learning from others.  I am excited about being an active participant in the SQL Community and very excited and honored to be a part of the Brent Ozar Unlimited FreeCon at this year’s Summit. We can do so much more as a group than we can on our own. Continue reading

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