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New Authority and support
The level of support needed by programmers varies to much to make any general statements. It depends heavily on what sort of work the programmers are doing, how much authority you give the programmers to change things, what sort of turnover rate the company has and so on.

At one end numbers as high as 1 per 50 could work if the platform, hardware and staff is stable. At the other end, 1 per 10 may not be enough if the programmers are doing a lot of short term work that requires different hardware for each project.

Overall, I've always found that you end up needing more support for the programmers not less. Programmers can work around trivial problems on their own, but they are so much better at creating major disasters. Also, programmers working with Windows will tend to suffer from Windows System Decay faster then end users.

If I had the authority to setup an IT department however I wanted, the one thing I would do very different is how administrative work is done. I would assign each project an administrative assistant to take care of the paper work. All of the time spent by project managers on making sure time sheets are filled out, sending reports to higher ups, checking the vacation schedules don't overlap and so on is time the project manager isn't working on the project. At one place I worked the project manager spent so much time on administrative work that a seperate team leader had to be assigned to actually manage the technical side of the project.

After that, not much can be written in stone because it depends on what sort of projects the company does. Are there lots of little one programmer for one week projects or does the company do 20 programmers for a year type projects? Does the company do projects with fixed end dates and no customer support afterwards or does it do outsourcing, full support type projects? Or, worst of all, does the company do a mix of the above project types?

New Supporting programmers
In my shop we must be lucky. The programmers who develop on Windows are generally not destructive, all work is saved to servers and they are part of a custom group giving them access to and full control over only one partition (data) on their system. For the boot/windows partition they are setup as standard users. I have also created images for the programmers that can be loaded in under a half hour. So even if they really hose it up, they are back working in 30 minutes. We have about a 60/40 split of developers working in windows/other OSes and those working in the other oses have yet to call me for support on a local system issue (I've been working here over a year now).

One of the reasons I asked for what you would do in setting up an IT infrasatructure is the informal setup we have here. It's too informal imho. We have no designated network admin, just whoever is handy when the need arises. No designated security officer. I only just recently got a manager fer christsake.

Don Richards. Who is much less a fan of anarchy than he once was.
Life is a Cabernet.
New That's bad...
Real bad.

In my shop we must be lucky.

So far, maybe. I suspect much less so as things go forward.

We have no designated network admin, just whoever is handy when the need arises.

Which also means that when the need does arise, or you hire one, they'll have a hell of a time getting stuff done, cause everybody "has always done this"...

I feel sorry for whoever does end up with that.

Formal? Basically people need assignments there, it sounds like. Someone needs to be responsible for the security, and the servers. Might be a programmer, and if they can't handle that and their job, then someone else, or hire someone.

But if nobody's responsible, who's making sure that its getting done?

New Utter agreement
We have only recently, due to being bought out, become part of a larger, corporate organization. Some very smart people here, but ..... it's a kind of hippy atmosphere. We are in the process of merging with another entity and moving many of it's functions to our location. As part of this reorg, we are defining responibilities and roles. I have been hesitant to bring up before this the need for assigned roles because I would most likely be the one assigned. I didn't hire on as an admin and don't want to be one no matter what my qualifications. I perform some of the duties of an admin on an ad hoc basis and will continue until someone is assigned/hired permantly.

Don't get me wrong. This is a great place to work. Very intelligent group of people. A great product that I actually feel good about knowing what we provide. Anyone here is ready to offer help and jump in where needed. But without defined roles and assigned responsiblities, I see big problems in our future and am mighty glad we got merged with the other company in order to get us off our collective butts and get those roles and responsibilities clarified.
Life is a Cabernet.
New Re: Supporting programmers
It sounds like you have a pretty sane and simple basic setup. Where I work now, different projects are sometimes on different, mutually exclusive versions of the same software. In other cases we only have a certain number of copies of some software, and have to be carefull not to install it on too many machines at one time.

At one place I worked I ended up being given admin rights to the machine I worked on because I had to swap hardware so often that the support guys got tired of hearing from me.

It's not the people that do nothing but interent scripting or VB applications that screw things up, it's people like myself that are forced to play around with com ports under windows and program with weird / obsolete tools.

Not having at least one network admin is a mistake though. Even if you have no public servers, somebody needs ot watch the email server and the internet connection.

The company I work for now is very small, less then 50 employees and we have already had one significant attempt to crack our network and had our email server hijacked once to push spam.

     If you had full authority.... - (Silverlock) - (7)
         Not enough information. - (addison)
         hmm a lot of depends - (boxley)
         Authority and support - (JayMehaffey) - (4)
             Supporting programmers - (Silverlock) - (3)
                 That's bad... - (addison) - (1)
                     Utter agreement - (Silverlock)
                 Re: Supporting programmers - (JayMehaffey)

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