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Should a senior developer be able to have admin permissions (even if it's on a temporary lease basis) to a development server?

I have two specific examples in mind.

  1. I'm the dev lead for Java development and wanted to setup a dedicated development box with git SCM and a jenkins CI server. I was then going to look at something like nexus to archive our builds that we ship to customers.

  2. I'm currently architecting a Java web app and I need to create an application server instance on our dev box for testing. This involves creating a user account for the server to run under.

I've worked in places that allow this kind of permissions (including the current company in a different era) and IMO it helps to drive innovation and progress. This is only a dev box so there's no production data to worry about. The current regime seems overly restrictive and is preventing me from doing my job.

The git example took over 2 years to be setup and I'm still waiting for jenkins. Maybe because they don't really understand what it is. This is hugely frustrating but I actually like the company so I'm wondering how to approach this.

  • These days it's probably easiest to set up a VM with exactly what you need and hand the VM to your IT. – Wilbert Jun 17 '15 at 12:19
  • If Jenkins is only for you, why not install it on your local machine? If Jenkins is to be used by everyone, then presumably as dev lead you are in a position to make this decision and get the change implemented. But this sounds like a work-organisational issue more than a technical one. – Brandin Jun 17 '15 at 12:19
  • There's no such thing as a set of "appropriate" permissions; every company is different. If you want to make your case, make it in terms of how much money it's costing the company by not having the necessary permissions. – Robert Harvey Jun 17 '15 at 14:40
  • "Two years" and you still ask this question? Man, you have patience. How often did you argue with your boss about this topic? Does he understand what you need to get your work done? – Doc Brown Nov 24 '16 at 6:48
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Devs have to have the privileges they need to get their tasks done.

If your task is to install and maintain development tool chains, which include e.g. Jenkins, then of course you need to have the appropriate privileges.

I'm aware that many organizations don't want to decide such stuff case-by-case, but rather have a process which defines something likes privileges globally for the company.

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Yes, devs need admin privileges with dev systems. Its just easiest to do this than fumble around asking for access to bits and pieces of the system you need to dev with.

In your case however, you're asking for admin access to the development server to set up tools, not as a developer. So you really should be asking to be the owner/admin of that server with all the responsibilities for keeping it running and maintained. If you have the kind of org that has an admin for that server, you'll need to communicate with him directly so that it is set up for the needs of the developers - so he'll be the one to install Jenkins and set up the user account.

For a dev server, I think letting any dev do whatever they like to it is a bad idea, someone will set things up that they want and break it for others, so its best to have a central point (either an admin or senior dev) as the owner of the box and responsible for the admin activities that are needed for it.

  • 1
    We have a central admin point like you say but with regards to git/jenkins I've been waiting years and they don't really understand what I'm asking for. For the app server I could just ask them to create the whole thing I guess but in the past I've had to faff around troubleshooting folder permissions etc which will be painful via a proxy. I agree we don't want a free for all. – Ben Thurley Jun 17 '15 at 12:11

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