Why Should I Attend the PowerShell Summit?

Starting last fall for the European PowerShell Summit and this year for the North America PowerShell Summit all the session recordings are available on YouTube. Because of that you may be asking yourself “Why should I go to the Summit when I can just watch everything online?”. Here are ten reasons, in no particular order other than the order in which my brain dumped them out.

  1. You get direct interaction with the product team. And I am not talking about members of the PowerShell team sitting in a corner not interacting with anyone.  They are there to get as much feedback as possible, learn how people are using it, and to directly interact with members of the community.  This isn’t the Microsoft of 10 years ago or two years ago.  When they say they want your feedback (and not just the good stuff) they absolutely mean it.  Special thanks to Lee Holmes, Michael Greene, Joey Aiello, Angel Calvo, Hemant Mahawar, and Kenneth Hansen for making the trip out to Charlotte.
  2. I don’t care how much you interact with other members of the community over Twitter, Email, Google Hangouts, whatever.  There is no substitute for meeting people face to face, shaking their hand and getting to know something about them besides how they use PowerShell.
  3. And combining #1 and #2, you also get to talk to (and listen to) people talk about how they have solved problems using PowerShell, and what their thought process was around creating that solution. You can then ask people, I have this problem, what would you do to solve it?  One of those conversations alone is worth the price of admission.
  4. You get to watch Mike Robbins “harass” Rohn Edwards all week by telling everyone how great his sessions are going to be and how everyone needs to go to them.  By all accounts they were awesome.
  5. You get to see the look on Dave Wyatt’s face Microsoft announces that “his code” (Pester) is shipping with the next version of Windows Server
  6. You get to have Steven Murawski answer your questions about creating Custom DSC Resources while you are creating them
  7. You get a free Chef T-Shirt, courtesy of Steve.
  8. You get awesome Nano Server and PowerShell stickers courtesy of the one and only Jeffrey Snover.
  9. You get to watch Jason Helmick live and in person talk about how he has his depends on.
  10. You end up finding a bug in Class based DSC Resources that you only found because you participated in the DSC Resource hack-a-thon at the PowerShell Summit.  So make sure you vote on that!
  11. Bonus!  Jeff Hicks gives you a signed PowerShell Deep Dives book and a 30 day Pluralsight subscription to give away at your next user group meeting.
  12. Bonus!  You get to watch Jeffrey Snover demonstrate and talk about a bunch of stuff I can’t repeat or talk about upon fear of death :).
  13. Bonus!  You get to talk to (and listen) to June Blender talk about PowerShell, PowerShell Help, and writing.  Her passion and knowledge around those topics is unbelievable.
  14. Bonus!  You learn how little you really know about PowerShell.  This is a good thing!  This is also something I relearn on a nearly daily basis.

I was also asked by Josh Duffney on Twitter what I thought were some of the “must watch” videos from the Summit.  The lame answer is “everything”, but that’s also not realistic.  If you put a gun to my head and said “you have to pick 7 sessions” here are the 7 I would pick (no particular order).  All the Summit videos can be found in this playlist on YouTube.

  1. Kenneth Hansen & Angel Calvo PowerShell Team Engagement
  2. Don Jones DSC Resource Design
  3. Dave Wyatt on Automated Testing using Pester
  4. Defending the Defenders Part 1 & 2
  5. Debugging
  6. PowerShell Get
  7. Ashley McGlone on DSC and AD
  8. PowerShell v5 Debugging (There is also a session on Debugging PowerShell by Kirk Munro.  These are different)

What Not To Do As A Manager – Volume 1

This is the first post in what will be a multi-part series about what not to do as a manager or leader.  For better or worse in the last year I have had the “opportunity” to witness a lot of things that I wouldn’t recommend any manager or leader do if they want to be successful. This particular example applies to any aspect of your life, not just the professional part.

One of the two jobs I worked at during my two year odyssey was a contract position for a large construction firm.  The job was to perform a remote Datacenter consolidation and standardization.  The subject of this post is the Project Manager for said project, we will call him Matt.

My second week there Matt took me to meet another guy on the Infrastructure team that I had been communicating with via email about some System Center Configuration Manager reports he was going to write for the project.  As we were leaving his desk Matt turned around and just flipped the guy off.  Right in the middle of everyone.  I was incredulous.  The guy who got flipped off?  He must have been used to it because he didn’t even acknowledge it.  For my part, I was so stunned I didn’t even say anything.  After about 5 seconds of Matt flipping him off without a response, Matt just walked away.  My only thought was “That was completely messed up.”  Trying to give Matt the benefit of the doubt I tried to convince myself that there must have been an inside joke or something involved.  However, his actions really bothered me and the fact I didn’t even say anything bothered me even more.

Fast forward two more weeks.  I’m sitting at my desk when Matt walks by on his way to lunch.  Neither one of us says anything to the other and right before he walks out the door to go to lunch, he turns back around, walks over and flips me off.  What makes this more incredible is that I shared the cubicle area with the other contractor so he witnessed everything I am about to transcribe.

Me (sarcastic voice):  “Wow Matt, you are really cool!”

*5 second silence while we stare at each other*

Matt:  “Hold on I’ve got something else for you”

*reaches his other hand into his jeans pocket*

*launches the middle finger on that hand*

Matt:  “Boom!”

*5 second silence while I stare at him with a completely unimpressed facial expression*

*5 more seconds*

*5 more seconds*

He doesn’t say a word and just walks off.  For the following three weeks he never said a word to my face despite being my project manager and walking by my desk multiple times every day.  For my part, I never attempted to initiate any kind of a conversation as I had zero desire to ever speak to him again.  I left the contract job within the month.

I never disclosed this information to HR at the company because I knew I would be leaving as soon as possible, should I have done so?  How would you have handled the situation?


Quick Thoughts on a Mobile Phone Policy Rollout

I recently rolled out (with the support of the executive team) a Mobile Phone Policy outlining how we would handle new and existing phones, personal phone numbers on our corporate phone plan, who is eligible and who was responsible for what costs.

This was a much needed plan as everything was handled on a case by case basis, and there was no uniformity to how decisions were made and since I am now making those decisions, that wasn’t going to work for me.

The plan has been received well, except for the part where I did a poor job giving all the affected employees a heads up that it was coming.

I mistakenly assumed after talking to a few department managers and a few of the affected users that word about the purpose of the plan and it’s substance would gradually make it around since we are such a small company.

Well, lesson learned on that front, because that assumption turned out to be a massive failure.  There were quite a few people (including quite a few other department heads) who were “blindsided” by this policy, even though almost nothing was changing, it was just being written down for all to see.

So note to self:  Next time, send an email or schedule a quick meeting (or in one of our morning huddles) to let everyone know that change is coming.

Lesson Learned!