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Building Runbooks

Monica Rathbun explains the concept of runbooks:

Don’t try to build job security into what you do. I know many that worry about giving up the knowledge to others. Having the sole “how to” knowledge for some, gives them a sense of job security. While to a point that might be true, it also locks you in to your current position. Many that hoard their knowledge never advance because they find themselves invaluable in their current position. “We can’t move them because they are the only ones who know about such and such”. Why put yourself in that position? If you can’t ever be replaced, you also can’t move up.

As a lone dba, I find this run book to be vital. It allows me to direct someone to the book and I can walk them through running anything I need them to in my absence.  It allows me to take a vacation or a day off while giving others the tools to get things done.

Exactly.  It’s easy to get caught in the trap that your value is in the specific details of some process that you know, and so the company can’t get rid of you because you’re the only person who knows this.  One of the counter-intuitive results of IT culture is that reputation comes from sharing information rather than hoarding it.