Blog - About

About jampick

I'm James Pickell.  I work as an Associate Architect at Microsoft.  I've been with Microsoft since late 1999 working mostly as a software builder, build lead and build manager in Windows.  Until 2007 I was the Windows main build lab manager responsible for the build, bvt and source control operation teams for Windows.  I was fortunate enough to be the build manager for Vista and most of Server 2008 and Vista SP1 development.  This position allowed me to work with many smart folks and see the challenges associated with enterprise level software development.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

I left Windows in late 2007 to join Microsoft Services as an architect in the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) practice.  My specialty is developing build automation, branch management and driving source control best practices.  ALM is a rich space that crosses all facets of software development.  I'm in a good position to empower people and businesses to realize their full potential through our software and services.<o:p></o:p>

Feel free to follow me at http://twitter.com/jampick
 
This is my weblog.  Enjoy!

  • jampick's WebLog

    TFS Max Path mitigation via check-in policy

    • 2 Comments
    This post applies mostly to Team Build 2005 but users of later versions of TFS may find this useful as well. If you are working with Team Foundation Server 2005 you will eventually hit a build break or have a check in fail because the full path(e.g...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Sample branch plan for concurrent hot fix, service pack and v-next work

    • 1 Comments
    Below is a branch plan that I've used before that enables servicing a released product with hot fixes, a cumulative service pack (SP) and enables next version work in main and the development branches. This is also simplified version on the branch plan...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Live from Los Angeles... It's the 2008 PDC!

    • 1 Comments
    I'm in Los Angeles this week to attend the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC). My personal PDC goal is to focus on how partners supplement our Microsoft ALM offerings. I'm especially interested in seeing complimentary and competitive offerings...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Visual Studio 2010 == happiness

    • 1 Comments
    "Visual Studio 2010 == happiness" is from one of the VSTS 2010 talks today. I expected more buzz around Windows Azure but talking to folks in the lounge, at lunch and over coffee there is huge interest in some of the new features in VSTS 2010 especially...
  • jampick's WebLog

    TFS Reboot Order

    • 1 Comments
    Here are some steps you may want to take to around planning downtime for your Team Foundation Server h/w. Proxy – can be rebooted at any time.  Users will pass through to the App Tier as long as the proxy is offline. Build – Mark the build agents...
  • jampick's WebLog

    File revision and source control system moves

    • 1 Comments
    Determining how long it will take to migrate source and revision history is usually tricky for me to answer accurately.  Depending on the source and destination source control systems there may be some scripts or tools to help automate the task but...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V + TFS Build

    • 1 Comments
    My colleague, Ian Ceicys ( http://blogs.msdn.com/iceicys/ ) just pointed me to a great book on Windows Server Hyper-V.  I’ve been a been late ramping up on this server role so I’m excited to get caught up.  I’m reading this now Windows Server...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Bulk update of TFS Areas with ICommonStructureService

    • 0 Comments
    I recently had to create an area tree, in a TFS project, with  large number (500+) of nodes.  I was not looking forward to doing this manually.  I had the area tree that I needed to create in a comma delimited (CSV) file so I looked around...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Source Access by Branch and Role using Team Foundation Server

    • 0 Comments
      It’s great to see the latest version of Team Foundation Server branching guide just passed 30,000 downloads.  Even if you are using another source control system I think you will find plenty of the information in the guide is version control...
  • jampick's WebLog

    New Team Foundation Server case study is available

    • 0 Comments
    I was lucky enough to have some I’d been a part of captured in a case study.  The engagement was focused on Application Lifecycle Management improvements focused on people, process and tools (TFS). The study is available at http://www.microsoft.com...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Automation to relate TFS work items

    • 0 Comments
    If you are using TFS 2008 for work item tracking be sure to get most out of the tool by relating work items.  Depending on the process template you are using the work item types may be different.  In general terms consider linking your requirement...
  • jampick's WebLog

    TFS 2010 Code Churn Report – Getting Additional Detail

    • 0 Comments
    It’s great to see more TFS users use a tool they know, Excel, in conjunction with a tool they may not know so well, Analysis Services to answer questions about their software project.  The default TFS reports provide a great first level of detail...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Checklists… not just for weekend chores.

    • 0 Comments
    I wanted to pass on a book that I’ll be wrapping up shortly.  I’m getting some good ideas that may support creating repeatable processes to around delivering complex software projects.  Here is part of the introduction as a teaser… Here, then...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Using productivity factor effectively to build achievable iteration plans

    • 0 Comments
    Folks at Microsoft have great integrity. That is, they do what they say they are going to do and let you know early if they can’t follow through with their commitment. I hope you have the same experience at your company. Maybe we are just lucky...
  • jampick's WebLog

    TechReady 8 in Seattle

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    If you are attending the Microsoft technical readiness (TechReady) conference this week in Seattle please drop by one of my sessions below.  I’ll be speaking with Mario Rodriguez, from the Visual Studio team, about source code branch requirements...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Team Explorer cache cleaning

    • 0 Comments
    When switching between TFS servers (i.e. different servers not TFS projects) there can be data that is cached between projects on the 2 servers leading to some confusion in the Team Explorer UI that makes is appear you have not really changes servers...
  • jampick's WebLog

    TFS Branching Guide refresh available now!

    • 0 Comments
    If you use any sort of source control system you will find this TFS Branching Guide available at http://www.codeplex.com/TFSBranchingGuideII useful.  There is some Team Foundation Server specific content and labs but the main branching guide is source...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Agile adoption at the methodology level

    • 0 Comments
    I jumpstarted my PDC experience this year by attending a pre-conference talk on Agile Perspective; Industry and Microsoft . I was surprised to see such strong turn out on a Sunday. There appeared to be about 200 people at the talk. Many times I need to...
  • jampick's WebLog

    Managing build dependencies ... check them all in. All of them if you can.

    • 0 Comments
    There are many posts and deep thoughts on source code branching but little advice on how deep you should go into putting your build dependencies under source control. Since I've not seen any general guidance on managing build dependencies I'll offer the...
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