Jeremy Smith's blog

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Rotate Responsiblities

Companies Should Rotate Their Sysadmins Every Couple Years

I don't think that it needs to be a fire/rehire situation. Rather, you have person A who takes care of systems X, Y, and Z. You have person B who takes care of systems W, U, V. And, you have person C who takes care of systems R, S, and T. Every n months, declare "shffle time", and have person A take over W, V, T; person B takes R, T, and Z; and person C takes S, X, and Y.

This will allow for the de-crufting of all of the systems by the new individuals who take them over. Of course, during the "shuffle time," all new project development would have to be suspended for, at least, 8 weeks.


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    Umm...well, I agree, but only to a certain extent. I think it would be more than a little sub-optimal to swap Windows and *nix sysadmins (especially for large values of "n", which might cause me to seek employment elsewhere).

    Given that contraint though, I'm entirely in agreement--and in fact, the way our group is managed, most of our machines (in both *nix & Windows groups) are intended to be managed equally by a group of 3 people. In the *nix group, we can't afford to have one person each doing BSD/OS, Solaris (6/7/8/9) and Linux--all 3 of us handle all of those systems.

    Another catch is the actual de-crufting process--in many cases, it requires cooperation (mostly, time to update/move/re-test stuff) from the application layer people; in our experience, that cooperation (again, read "time") has been, shall we say, a wee bit difficult to obtain.