This month, T-SQL Tuesday is being hosted by freshly minted MVP Jen McCown (blog | twitter), and her topic is "Resolutions!" I already gave a rough sort of overview on my goals for 2011, but I thought I would be able to dig a little deeper with enough relevance to participate. So with that in mind, and with a goal of not setting the bar too high, here are a few of the resolutions I hope to achieve in 2011:
To become better at PowerShell
Not just because all the cool kids are doing it, but because I truly see the value in automation and scripting. I am currently working on an intensive project which involves running workloads, gathering performance counters, measuring wait stats, and bulk loading all of the output into a database for analysis… previously I was using a hodge-podge of PowerShell, LogMan, VBScript and SQL Server Agent, and I am begrudgingly consolidating everything to PowerShell. I like the results, but I am not all that comfortable with the learning curve. And I am finding some frustrating things missing along the way. For example, Export-CSV can only export to a new file – they forgot to support append. There are workarounds, sure, and the bug is closed as fixed (albeit, with no comment, so I'm not sure exactly what that means). Still, even if we get an enhanced Export-CSV function in PowerShell 2.5 or 3.0, this seems like core functionality that should have been there from the beginning.
To have faith in Connect again
I go through cycles… I love Connect, then I hate it, then I love it, then I hate it again. I'm in the not-so-positive camp right now, for a couple of reasons: (1) I'm seeing way too many easy fixes being thrown out the window for Denali, because it's too late in the cycle or because they aren't considered important enough, and (2) the quality of the communication from the product team is at an all-time low IMHO. Several folks have tried to encourage me to keep at it, and even to push Connect harder because now is the time that it will count… but I'm finding it difficult to come around. I am contemplating resurrecting last year's Connect Digest blog series, even after some MVPs kicked me in the junk about it, but I think that will come down to both time and motivation. For the motivation side I think I need to see a slightly better effort on Microsoft's part – no more form responses, no more closures without a comment, and no more ignoring items for three years.
To practice my presentations more
Brent Ozar (blog | twitter) had a great post today, entitled "How to Rehearse a Presentation." He has some great thoughts in there, and while – with all due respect – there's nothing truly rocket science about it, it is very useful to see it all in one cohesive place like that: it makes it very easy to identify which steps I'm currently NOT performing when preparing for speaking events. The point that best hit home for me was to consider each audience member's time at an hourly rate, and that anything less than stellar is a disservice to them. I have several engagements on tap in 2011, and I'm going to strive to make each presentation better than the last – and not to treat them like my own personal Toastmasters meetings. In a conversation today I identified some of the key points I need to work on to improve my presentation skills, and that's as good a start as any.