I have a few friends that work sales engineers for various companies. They often build a proof of concept (POC) project for various customers or potential customers, which is a great job. They get to showcase how a particular product or technology might work in a situation. We see this all time from lots of companies, including a great POC from BMW shown at the recent //build/ conference.
Sometimes the POC is more mockup than reality, but often this is a way to actually test some software and determine if you should invest more resources in that particular direction. I’ve used this myself, setting up a small project to test items, and I recommend this for others that might want to try something out.
For example, I like the idea of Continuous Integration (CI) for databases, but implementing CI in one of your production pipelines, on a production database is hard. It’s complex, and it can be distracting, not to mention stressful. Who wants to make a deployment mistake in production?
What I recommend instead is that you take a small database and practice. I don’t like Adventureworks, but you could grab a few tables from your system and build a new database, download a pre-built one from SQLskills, or even just create a Hello World type database with one table. Download TeamCity, or use the Visual Studio Online build system. Experiment and learn how to take your database code and programatically deploy changes to another system. Redgate has toolsto help, or you can roll your own.
No matter how you do it, try using a POC the next time you are wondering what the best way to proceed with new technology. You might find the POC makes a new technique more approachable and gives you confidence to tackle deploying the changes in the rapidly changing environments in which we work.