Friday 29 August 2008
I have very good experiences in having system administrators participate in IT projects.
Usually an IT project is setup with only the required functionality in mind. To increase the chance of success, the scope of the project is limited. Very few projects incorporate in their project plans that the developed systems must be administrated as well.
Usually at the end of a project planning is stated “Go in Production”, and as far as the project is concerned this is the last step. Systems can be developed in one year, but will be in production for (dozens of) years. For all these years, they must be administrated.
There are expectations about performance, creating backups, failover in case of a disaster, solving incidents, etc. These expectations are seldom managed in advance by the project.
System administrators feel the new systems are “thrown over the wall” when the project ends, without having influence on how the systems are setup. It is therefore not strange that administrators resist the new system, and feel many of the problems with managing the system is the fault of the (already closed) project.
Therefore, I suggest to have system administrators participating in IT projects as early as possible. They can advise the project on the issues stated above, they know the production environment and can make implicit expectations from the project explicit.
My experience is that deliverables of a project are accepted and will go in production much easier when administrators have been working in the project.
An obvious disadvantage is that if administrators are participating in project, the administration of production systems could suffer. This has to be acknowledged and addressed by line management.