So one of my favorite parts of working in the Windows Azure team is the camaraderie that grows when you take a bunch of really smart people and apply them to a big problem. I’m very fortunate to be part of three extremely interesting Windows Azure v-teams (teams assembled for a particular project or work stream); our TAP team (I’ll explain a little more about that in a later post), our billing team, and our deployments team.

One thing that I have noticed during the course of this year as we work towards PDC2009, is that each team has it’s own dynamic, it’s own challenges and issues, and most of all, it’s own in-jokes. Along the ship path, as the pressure increases, it’s easy to forget to have fun, so the other day, I jumped onto Zazzle, and captured some of the more interesting moments on our road to PDC09 so far.

Filing Bugs Is Free!

My first one comes from what we call a ship room, which essentially is a regular meeting (we hold ours twice a week for an hour) where everyone involved in shipping the next release (in our case, billing) attends to triage bugs from the previous release, and discuss blocking issues for the upcoming release. Everyone attends; developers, testers, program managers, release managers, everyone. As the billing team is relatively new, not everyone had worked together. Now, as every dev/test knows, filing bugs is not a trivial task, there is a tension between overfiling (carelessly filing bugs which adds work to the triage team and can cause wasted effort) and underfiling (not wanting to file bugs because it may make the developer look bad, however has the effect of giving an incorrect representation of how solid the codebase is). It’s a tension that exists in every project, and there is no right or wrong balance, you have to take a position that suits your objective. Entering billing ship room, there was definitely a tendency to underfile, but given the importance of billing, we decided that it was better to overfile, wear the cost of triage, to ensure we didn’t miss any bugs, than underfile to optimize for speed of delivery. Hence, the shirt below!

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My Rack’s Too Fat for Singapore!

The second one comes from my experience in our infrastructure deployments team. This team is responsible for deploying all new Windows Azure capacity to support the cloud, which includes selecting hardware/network gear, designing the deployment topology/config, rolling out and setting up the physical assets, and wiring it all up to the Windows Azure grid, both from a wire and software point of view. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty fast paced environment, and I can only imagine, is akin to landing planes; you need to get lots of iron and copper on the ground, in different countries, very very quickly, in quick succession. The other aspect is that we don’t use your standard enterprise configurations, which means are racks tend to be tall, heavy, and many. So it some times happens that a datacenter location may not be able to support our deployments, which was the case with a location we were looking at in Singapore. I couldn’t resist capturing that little moment, in a very literal way in the shirt I’m wearing today!

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So keep this in mind, next time your sitting with your project crew, toiling through the hurdles and issues, and that little moment pops up that makes everyone have a laugh and relax, capture it in some way, shape or form. It’s a great way to remind everyone that we do this stuff because we love it, and it also helps keep those moments alive down the path, where trust me, you’ll need them! ;)

Enjoy! :)

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