T-SQL Tuesday #148–User Group Advice

tsqltuesdayThis month the T-SQL Tuesday invitation is from Rie Merritt, and it’s one that means a lot to me. I don’t actually run a user group, but I think community is important. It’s a big part of my job and my life.

Rie asked me if she could host this month because she had a specific topic. If you’d like to host a T-SQL Tuesday, all you need is a blog and participation in another month by writing a post. You could even write a post today for T-SQL Tuesday #1.

If you’re interested, contact me.

Advice for User Groups

As I mentioned, I don’t run a group. In fact, I never have, but I have run events, attended lots of meetings, and I do speak at quite a few.

The pandemic has been hard on many groups, and a blessing to others. While I don’t like the virtual meetings, I understand how and why they work for some groups and not for others.

My big advice for organizers is twofold, and I’ll write a couple paragraphs about each.

Serve Your Community

My main advice is that your work with groups or events, whether leader, speaker, or something else, you ought to make sure you are serving your community. What is best for them, or what do they want?

Sometimes I find leaders doing what’s best for them, without knowing what the community might prefer. If you want virtual meetings for your own personal reasons, whatever they are,  make sure a large portion of your attendees and speakers agree. Same for in-person meetings. If your area wants to stay online, understand that.

This isn’t to say that you can’t experiment, and that you might make decisions on days/times/etc. More it’s advice to think about what helps people as we come out of this pandemic.

Go Slow

I’ve seen a lot of groups struggle over time to run a monthly meeting and find speakers. Speakers are easier online, but it’s still work.

My advice is that you can consider doing something less than monthly, especially if you move to hybrid or in-person. A quarterly or every-other-month pace might suit you (and others better).

Also think about adding in some lunch meetings, perhaps just discussion ones without a presentation. Bond, be social, just talk, vent, and share what we love about data and technology.

Don’t kill yourself. I’d prefer you enjoy running a group for 3 years than burning out after 6 months.

About way0utwest

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3 Responses to T-SQL Tuesday #148–User Group Advice

  1. Ken Baker says:

    My reply to this topic is different than what Rie is asking. How do we find what user groups are now out there since Pass imploded and then reinvented itself. But most of the SQL Saturday’s are gone. I used to attend ones in the area around Cincinnati, Ohio. But since then have moved to a smaller town in Tennessee.

    Liked by 1 person

    • way0utwest says:

      The Azure Data Community, which Rie mentioned, is where many user groups have registered. Not all, but lots, so you can find them here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/community?activetab=pivot_1%3aprimaryr3

      I am reaching out to try and get some SQL Saturdays going, but it’s slow work. Lots of places won’t give space, and for now, it’s tough to rent. Also, lots of organizers are still worried about things. There’s also a data issue. Plenty of the people who ran SQL Saturdays are hard to find, since no data came with the sale of SQL Saturday assets from PASS.

      I’ll also add that I need people like you to push on local leaders if you want to see a SQL Saturday. I think some people have forgotten that in person events are worth doing


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