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I'm writing to express two thoughts: first, that Cole Hoosier deserves props not only for diagnosing a DNS problem with kddresearch.org after our web server migration, but for going the extra mile in doing so; and second, that this "extra mile" is really a matter of culture.

You see, Cole is a rarity among sysadmins: his first thought was to how the user might actually have been "able but ignorant", that is, clueful but uninformed as to the nature of the problem. This is, of course, a reinforceable state of mind: brush the users' concerns, needs, and suggestions off too often, and they will stop bringing up possibilities that may actually be plausible and useful to consider. Take our queries into consideration, and not only will we feel attended to, but sometimes, if we know what we are doing, it will lead the more readily towards a solution.

Apropos of The Purpose-Driven Life, I dub the uncommon systems administrator - who doesn't assume that technically trained users are strangers to TFM, who involves us in the solution, and who views the fair request as Dante did - the User-Driven Sysadmin. Such an admin is rightly respected by both fellow admins and users.

Managers and central administrators, recruit such people, for they grok the spirit of the User-Centric Manifesto. Show everyone that you value their positive attitudes, so that these attitudes will propagate throughout your organization. Reward them well, even though they often stay for the love of the craft. We will always need more technical people of this caliber.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 23rd, 2006 10:01 am (UTC)
Amen. My hubby is always having to explain to techies that yes (working on a Masters in Computer Engineering) he is absolutely sure that his computer is indeed turned on and everything is plugged in. *rolls eyes*

His last tech call (our cable Internet went out), he impressed the tech guy and the tech guy was actually collaborating with him to try to find a solution (okay try this...). Hubby was very happy.

Once he got handed off to the engineer that actually designed the component he was having issues with. Talk about impressed. That was almost a decade ago and he still tells people about the company!
Oct. 23rd, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC)
here is the secret of being a good sysadmin: don't walk away from the computer until the issue is resolved. NEVER say "that should do it" and then walk away.
Oct. 23rd, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
Don't walk away

Now, what is the professorial equivalent?

I'm just saying.

That should do it,
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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