Pair Administration

One particular aspect of agile programming caught my fancy this last week or so: the pair programming concept. Specifically, agile programming includes the idea that programmers work in pairs, thus reducing bugs and increasing productivity. (Note that this is just one part of agile development.)

I thought to myself, that would be perfect for major maintenance projects as well. For instance, if you have to reboot a server, and make sure it comes back up with its plethora of services – why not work in pairs?

The more junior system administrator could be the driving administrator, and the seasoned professional could watch over their shoulder to make sure all is well.

Since human error is the number one cause of errors, this seems like a good way to reduce errors and increase server uptime. One of the benefits of pair programming is to reduce errors; perhaps pair administration would result in the same. The oft-repeated quote says that “many eyes make shallow bugs”; perhaps “many eyes make better uptime!”

If you try it, let us know your experiences.

3 thoughts on “Pair Administration”

  1. Good idea. If you have most or all of hardware components redundant, why not have redundant sysadmins? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Actually, while with programming that makes sense as those tasks are hard to automate, for sysadmin tasks one justs fires a script to check if “service_name”.pids are actually generated and match runing processes. Or Monit. Or any fancy IBM/HP/whatever monitoring tools to do just that.
    And those things do not tend to be sobering up at 4am ๐Ÿ˜‰

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