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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

PASS Summit 2010 Presentation Feedback


It's always an honor to present anywhere. Presenting at the PASS Summit is a special honor. I delivered three presentations last month:

  • Database Design for Developers
  • SSIS Design Patterns, Part 2
  • A Lightning Talk on SSIS

Database Design for Developers

First, a bit of explanation (defense): I submitted this abstract to the PASS Abstracts folks by mistake. I kid you not. Inspired by Adam Machanic (Blog | @AdamMachanic) I maintain a document of current presentations. I've recently published this to the Interwebz here. But I goofed. I think I was submitting abstracts to a couple events that day and became confused.

65 people attended and this presentation ranked 156th out of 185. It's meant to be more interactive and because it wasn't, I finished way early. Considering all that, I think the feedback was gracious:

How would you rate the usefulness of the information presented in your day-to-day environment?
Average: 4.03
5's: 11       
4's: 12       
3's: 8        
2's: 1

How would you rate the Speaker's presentation skills?
Average: 4.34
5's: 15       
4's: 13       
3's: 4      

How would you rate the Speaker's knowledge of the subject?
Average: 4.53
5's: 19       
4's: 11       
3's: 2 

How would you rate the accuracy of the session title, description and experience level to the actual session?
Average: 3.97
5's: 8       
4's: 17       
3's: 6
1's: 1 

How would you rate the amount of time allocated to cover the topic/session?
Average: 3.81
5's: 9       
4's: 10       
3's: 12
1's: 1 

How would you rate the quality of the presentation materials?
Average: 4.09
5's: 10       
4's: 16       
3's: 5
2's: 1 

Title makes it sound like this would be about design/models, etc, but great info on TSQL formatting and deployment (Andy: True)

content was useful. would have enjoyed a little more (Andy: Thank you!)

I was expecting more design info (how to choose level of normalization, data type preferences etc.)

presentation too short -> needed more examples

speaker finished presentation 1/2 hr early

"worst session I attended at PASS.
-bad session description
-session ended 20min early
-very few design fundamentals were presented"

was nice having time for questions to be answered (Andy: You're welcome.)

the presentation only last for 45 minutes

This seemed to be a session on the speaker best practices vs DB design

too short

Although this presentation has gone over better at SQL Saturdays and received accolades from .Net User Groups and Code Camps, I need to write a version of this presentation specifically aimed at database developers and DBAs. I also need to retitle this presentation Database Design for .Net Developers.

This presentation just didn't play well. I own that.

SSIS Design Patterns, Part 2

This was a spotlight presentation. I couldn't think of a good way to express that this talk was a continuation of the Applied SSIS Design Patterns presentation I delivered at the PASS Summit 2009, so I thought of a bad way to express that: "Part 2". This led to confusion - "where is Part 1?" I own that, my bad.

This was the first time I've delivered this presentation. I literally crushed my personal laptop on the connector flight from Detroit to Seattle, so this presentation was delivered on a brand new laptop less than two days after I bought said laptop. Despite that, it went well. 196 people attended and it ranked 76th out of 185 presentations.

How would you rate the usefulness of the information presented in your day-to-day environment?
Average: 4.32
5's: 66       
4's: 39       
3's: 21        
2's: 2

How would you rate the Speaker's presentation skills?
Average: 4.65
5's: 87       
4's: 37       
3's: 4      

How would you rate the Speaker's knowledge of the subject?
Average: 4.79
5's: 101       
4's: 27

How would you rate the accuracy of the session title, description and experience level to the actual session?
Average: 4.29
5's: 63       
4's: 44       
3's: 16
2's: 5 

How would you rate the amount of time allocated to cover the topic/session?
Average: 4.23
5's: 52
4's: 58       
3's: 15
2's: 2
1's: 1 

How would you rate the quality of the presentation materials?
Average: 4.46
5's: 71       
4's: 48       
3's: 7
2's: 1 
1's: 1 

I will probably implement some things I learned

I was hoping for more advanced patterns

I was expecting data loading design patterns, not SISS function demo/usage

information presented expertly but this is not a level 300 class - 200 at best (Andy: I always struggle with the difference between 200- and 300-level)

I use a similar framework but this opened up some new ideas on the pattern

I think less time on the basics, more time on the advanced stuff would be excellent

great framework for SSIS!

had to leave midway through. Eval applies to 1st half only (Andy: You missed the super-awesome part. I juggled. Ask anyone who stayed. They'll back me up on that...)


great polish and thorough demos

Great materials, demos and presentation

great insight!

it sounds like design high level topic but its more about managing deployment in multi server environment

Great flow and demo's

hope you post the demos (Andy: I need to do that, durnit!)

mostly just explains config capabilities, very little framework

SSIS connection or SSIS config might be better

not Andy's fault. Cool stuff, but not what I was anticipating

Great demo's; good knowledge of SSIS intervals

very thorough

very clear

too slow (Andy: As Buck Woody stated in his and Brent's presentation: "Andy is from the South.")

too much on configuration, not enough on debugging and maintuiy

too "meta" need real data in demo

need more time. more info

This will save me a ton of time someday

thank you for the use of good demos

Thank you for demos!

somewhat disapointing not much learned unfortunately

really thorough cover of config approach, but very little framework or patterns

pace could have been quicker

not as deep as I had expected

The front row on the left hand side couldn't see the lower left of the presentation screen because of how the stage was setup

good, clear examples

a nebulous title like "design patterns" would indicate a more broad view

Good job!

awesome presentation and presenter, larry the cable guy of pass summit 2010! (Andy: Wow thanks!)

Awesome presentation

Attack of SISS design patterns!

Andy Leonard is a great author and technologist, but most things in the presentation are not that complex and I was expecting more heavyweight stuff thats out already in production in most places

Andy is so composed and handled questions brilliantly!

Andy is a terrific resource for the SSIS community. Thank you, Andy!

awesomely presented

Andy has great presentation skills

always awesome and useful Andy

Wish I had seen this a year ago when we came up with our approach for the config files and connection strings

a little long for

a bit light for a 400-level presentation

:) almost didn't come because I never saw part 1 (Andy: My bad!)

"-GTL design patterns would be great! GTL; ELT; how to minimize memory, CPU, IO, etc.

-logging class or package"

Andy brought up some really good ideas that I can use to manage our "new" SSIS environment

good stuff!

Best explanation of using configuration files that I have ever had!

Best presenter so far very informative

good info. similar to what we have done. Debug is difficult though. I heard that come-up at the end. Missing part 1 from last yr. - handout w/ info would help (Andy: Excellent idea.)

good demos

good content w/relevant yet simple scenarios that are very applicable

good clear, personality-driven style - a little monotone (Andy: See my comment above re: South)

good but almost put me to sleep (Andy: See previous comment.)

fantastic speaker!

best overall presentation so fun in the conference!

Excellent. Can you put parameters for an oracle sql statement in a config package?

Excellent! Great demos, entertaining speaker and I got a lot of takeaways!

don't use SSIS all that often

Did not seem like an overly technical class

deep dive on a very specific topic

could have used more time!

clearly has lots of experience

excellent. Andy is one of the best, this session was great

would've like more time

A Lightning Talk on SSIS

Joking around on Twitter with Allen White (Blog | @SQLRunr) made this a fun adventure of a talk. You can read the history here. I was part of the Wednesday Lightning Talks, along with Allen White, Chuck Heinzelman, Denny Cherry, John Sterrett, Jonathan Kehayias, and Kendal Van Dyke. It was a hoot!

It's hard to tell how many people attended. It ranked 51st out of 185 presentations. I'm only including the comments below:


Some good, some bad. Would love to see more, though overall escellent! I really think this could be amazing - 5 mins can be a deep dive...but the fun talks were really cool. I thought the virtualization was a great 'dive' but all were awesome.

One of the best sessions i've been today.

Joe Webb - indexes - good. Denny Cherry - DB Shrinking - a bit too short. Andy Leonard - SSIS - excellent impromptu. John Sterret -Profiler - good; Chuck Heinzelman - Excellent; Jonathan Kayhaias - Good; Kendal VanDyke - PROF. Dev - Excellent; Allen White - Things change - excellent.

It really is too brief for day-to-day but can give ideas of topics to look into.

i love lightning talks! great concept. need more!!

I like the 'lightning' format very much.

Some of it was useful, some was not. All was interesting. What about a similar thing where a first session would highlight later sessions to give people an idea of what to expect beyond the abstract?

I enjoyed it but the bar could probably be raised.

Hot in here!

Great selection of speakers and topics. Great format.

great format. perfect time slot right after lunch when it's hard to keep awake; the short sessions keep attention.

Fun. Enjoyed.


and hilarious

i didnt expect much in this aspect.

this was a great idea! it was g9ood yesterday but even better today. allen may need to do everyone's deck.


If you didn't know beforehand, you should now realize that it takes all types. People are at different places in their careers and experience, and it's simply impossible to please everyone. These scores are a vast improvement over the feedback I received from the first time I presented at a PASS Summit way back in 2007. I will incorporate this feedback into future presentations. I thank everyone who took the time to attend my sessions and comment.

I'd like to encourage those whose presentations didn't score as well as they hoped. It's difficult to know what will do well and what will not. Presenting is a skill that is separate and distinct from your technology skills. But even then, everyone has good days and bad days. Stuff happens. Sometimes your laptop gets crushed on the flight, hypothetically.

You should feel good about being selected (I do!) - many weren't. You should be commended for preparing an abstract, submitting, making the trip, rehearsing, and doing everything in your power to deliver the very best presentation you could possibly deliver. Thank you for serving the SQL Server Community. I applaud you!



Published Wednesday, December 22, 2010 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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Julie Smith said:

Thanks Andy for your willingness to share your feedback.  I didn't make it to PASS this year (big sad face on that), but thoroughly enjoyed you at Columbia SQL Saturday.  I got overwhelmingly positive feedback from my session that I gave, but I did get one "3" and one negative comment about my voice as well.  (it was probably a Southerner who was irritated by the sound of my Northern Voice :)  )  

It is funny to me how my mind is like a sieve and I spent way too much time focusing on the two negative comments instead of the 20 positive :)  So thanks for the perspective and sharing!  

December 22, 2010 10:29 AM

smisner said:

I'm sympathetic about the laptop issue. My hard drive failed right at the moment that I put my laptop onto the podium. Fortunately, I had Erika's laptop loaded up with my slide deck and  my demo scripts and she had everything I needed from SQL Server installed as well. The only thing I didn't consider in advance was setting up a linked server for Analysis Services which was a demo I had in reserve if time allotted. So only a minute or two of switcheroo but I still got complaints in the evals for not being prepared. Some hard-core critics in the audience this year, I guess. You're so right - you can't please everyone! Fortunately, there were plenty of others who were happy and supportive. Kind of representative of any large group of people, isn't it? I'm grateful for the SQL Server Community no matter what kind of day everyone's having! :)

December 22, 2010 10:48 AM

andyleonard said:

Hi Julie,

  I heard your presentation at SQL Saturday Columbia and it was awesome! I learned a couple SSIS tricks from that talk (one thing was setting the MaximumErrorCount property to 0).

  Reading the feedback folks gave Grant Fritchey and Brent Ozar helped me realize it's a two-way transaction. Sometimes I can knock it out of the park (rarely, but it's happened, ok only once and that was really Jessica knocking out of the park, but I digress...) and still miss someone's expectations.

  In many ways a presentation is a short-lived relationship.

   I share because my reaction to some of Grant's and Brent's feedback was "What?!" Reading what people wrote about them - especially when I was also in the room an heard the same presentation personally - helped me put the insulting feedback in perspective.

  Some folks want more out of the relationship (presentation) than speakers are prepared to share (for whatever reason - it doesn't have to be that the speaker doesn't know). Some are bouncing back from bad relationships (presentations / speakers / sessions). Sometimes, it's just me and not you.

  You're a great speaker and will be presenting at national conferences as soon as people hear your talks. Feedback is part of that and it's truly helpful.


December 22, 2010 10:56 AM

Julie Smith said:

Andy, you are too kind :)  Have a great Christmas!

and Stacia I will see you in Tampa :)

December 22, 2010 2:52 PM

kendra little said:

I am giggling thinking what it must have been like when you learned a session was accepted which you hadn't meant to submit. Must have been quite a moment! :)

Hoping to see you again at a SQL Saturday soon!

December 23, 2010 3:37 PM

unclebiguns said:


I know your DB Design goes over well at SQLSaturday's because I've seen your full rooms and ratings.  I'm sure having a new laptop threw some things off.

Since you are an SSIS master I'm not surprised your SSIS session was highly rated.

December 23, 2010 5:03 PM

andyleonard said:

Ouch Stacia!

  Right when you started your presentation? Kudos on pulling off that session!

Yep Kendra,

  That was an oh-crap moment, to be sure. I thought about contacting the committee but then I remembered it had played well at SQL Saturdays and thought, "Ah well, it'll be fine."

Thanks Jack!


December 23, 2010 8:27 PM

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