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As a system administrator I am expected to manage the service desk, and the service desk operatives. I'm not new to this, but have been away from the desk management side of things for well over a year now. I'd like to do a bit better this time ;)

Is SF a suitable place to ask questions regarding people management (I assume a lot of admins are in charge of support desks also)

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Unfortunately the FAQ is pretty specific:

and it is not about… Career, salary, personnel, employment, or formal education

If it's a technical requirement or something of the sort, that's on-topic. But managing people is not.

Your Questions may be on-topic over at Workplace.SE. Though remember it's a Q&A site and must have a distinct "Answer"; open ended discussion questions are off-topic on all the SE sites.

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    +1 - 100% of my "people management" time that I spent I rely on skills that are in no way IT related. But workplace.se might be able to help. – Mark Henderson Jul 4 '12 at 23:32
  • Thanks both, I didn't realise there was a workplace SE :) I'll check there. In my opinion people management is part of system administration, but I think it could make for a messy SE page mixing people management and technical issues, so I completely get the logic behind this! – Rqomey Jul 5 '12 at 8:34
  • Lots of things are "part of system adminstration", doesn't mean they're all on-topic for SF. Should we allow questions about time management? It's just as much a part of being a good sysadmin. – womble Mod Jul 6 '12 at 13:34
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Yes, what you are discussing is a part of a great many admins jobs but they are not part of an admin's role. The distinction is rather critical in determining what is considered on topic for SF. I believe it would be fair to say that most of us wear more than one hat at work.

Lines have to be drawn and if we were to allow the line to drift about too far, where would it end? Discussing what we eat for lunch? What mode of transport we use to get to work, or even while we are at work? All are part of our daily lives as admins, yet none are part of our admin roles. On a more practical level, many of us are also programmers but programming questions are still off topic.

In the early days of SF there were some absolutely absurd topics discussed and even voted to ridiculous heights. It's taken a long time to clean most of them out as the site's focus evolved and became somewhat more rigid, with a more professional atmosphere to boot. SF is a better site for it.

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A key part of a lot of system administrators, and IT managers roles, is organising and ensuring a top quality service to their customers. For a lot of customers, the most visible part of the IT department is actually the service desk. This is supported in "The practice of system and network Administration" by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christina J. Hogan and Strata R. Chalup.

In some ways a customer will react more negatively to a bad service desk experience then to a service outage. However, once you have the basics of a service desk covered, a lot of it comes down to people management, and this is beyond the scope of serverfault. If the question is regarding how to best respond to a particular type of issue it is more likely to be on topic, but a question regarding the best method of making sure two junior admins are sharing work equally and responsibly is out of scope, and better answered at an alternate location.

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  • Tiny correction: "The practice is system and network Administration" has 3 co-authors: Thomas A. Limoncelli, Christina J. Hogan, Strata R. Chalup – TomOnTime Staff Jul 10 '12 at 13:11
  • @TomOnTime I have updated the answer, thank you. – Rqomey Jul 10 '12 at 13:34

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