Admin Access

Have you ever been in a position where you become the de-facto person who works with a certain tool, but are denied full admin access to that tool for no real reason?

Two years ago I was put on the Observability squad and quickly discovered it was my thing, implementing tracking and running queries on this third-party tool, building custom stuff to monitor our client-side successes and failures.

About a year ago I hit the point where if you asked anyone "Who is the go-to person for help/questions/queries/etc. for this tool", the answer was just me lol. It was nice to have that solid and clear role, but a year later, that's still the case, and I'm still not an admin on this platform. I've asked, in an extremely professional way armed with some pretty good reasons, but every time I'm given some lame non-answer that amounts to No.

As far as I'm aware, I'm the only dev on our team at all who uses custom/beta features on this site, but every time I want to use them I have to go find an admin and ask for an individual permission. Every time. At the end of 2020 it was happening once a month and it was so demoralizing hitting up people who never even log into this site to ask them to go out of their way to give me a new single permission.

People reach out to me frequently to request things I don't have the permissions to do, assuming I'm one of the 64 admins, but I have to DM someone else to actually do the thing.

At this point it feels very much like having to tug on the sleeve of a person taller than me to get what I need, and I'm out of ways to convince myself this isn't demoralizing. I know this is a pretty common thing in large companies, meaningless permissions protocols, and maybe it's because I came from IT originally that it's especially irritating. In IT you have admin access to everything and somehow nobody gets hurt lol-- It still blows my mind that software devs who make significantly more money and are considered "higher up" the chain (which i think is dumb btw) are given less trust when it comes to permissions.

Has anyone figured out a trick that works to convince someone to grant you access when you're getting stonewalled? Or maybe a story of this happening to you to distract me from my frustration?

  • 12
    Let the things burn.

    "I don't have permissions to see that. Ask that guy"
  • 6
    Speaking as the guy who every-fucking-one comes to to add the permission, as I'm admin "on shit nobody is even using anymore":

    Stop asking for permission. Just go to the one of the Admins, and tell him to make you an Admin.
    If he says no - stop answering questions. "I am not an admin, Can't answer. No idea what happend. Ask It [dumb guy] to give me Admin, and then I can help"
  • 8
    "Hi Steve, I'd love to do that for you, but IT have repeatedly refused to give me the access required. If you're able to get me that access granted then I'll jump right on it."
  • 6
    @magicMirror The admins are the only ones who can make me an admin, with no official "Account owner," but that very reason is the one they give-- "I'm not sure if I'm allowed." At some point you have to wonder how the other 63 got their admin access over the past two years...

    Most (but not all) who request and are given that access are managers, so I guess that makes the existing admins feel more confident that they won't get in trouble. But what more could I possibly do to show I need it the most lol? I was told "just keep asking ______ he's agreed to give you each individual permission you need" which feels like an "anything but actually giving her admin" move
  • 7
    Sounds similar.

    I manage a database replication process. I do not have administrative access to the database, but I do have access to the account used for replication.
    And this account can - surprisingly - read everything, including authentication data.

    So I can impersonate everyone and everything, but I do not get an official administrator account and have to ask for assistance for every small change...
  • 3
    I just had a flashback to the time an admin asked me "why do you need access to that feature?" and made me explain myself. Talk about insult to injury...

    These stories of relatable situations are helping, thank you :D
  • 3
    Oh my God, it is just the same everywhere, isn't it? I was thinking of switching jobs, but maybe I'll stick with the evil I know.
  • 0
    @pmso 1 week receiving slacks from 30 different people and he will willingly give the admin role.
  • 3
    I don't see this a bad. Maybe it's bad but still it's a good thing someone else is sharing responsibility in case screw-up happens.

    Like others said, just redirect the pressure of every request your got to the admins, until they "break" and give up.

    It's frustrating to be slowed down/blocked when you really want to work. I get it.
  • 3
    Heh :D feels the same. For half a year i had to develop a feature which i never had the correct accesses to make the same work in a week-two period. And i was not given the access on however much times i asked it. Well, i've got paid for it, completed it via using lower protocols and assumptios with a lot of time wasted.
    Not my fault tho :) if people cannot be given tools which need to complete the work. On your scenario i would just create an auto responder with a lost of contacts for specific problems.
  • 0
    Shrug. Stop being helpful when they ask. Vaguely push it to a chosen manager with - "Ask him, he can solve".
  • 0
  • 0
    Well normally I say you have accountability and separation of roles/concerns. That said they should grant you enough permissions to do your job.
    What happens when you are not around?

    Like @pmso it's perfectly acceptable to not help people because you can't. And let them take it up with management. Now they don't see the problem only your irrelevant complaints. If they get the complaints and are seen by the work force as the problem it does become their problem and nuance.
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