The Limoncelli Test: 32 Questions for Your Sysadmin Team

One of the challenges in System (and Net) administration as a discipline has been to define so-called “Best Practices”.  The problem is that our work exists to serve so many widely varied environments.  While other areas of expertise such accounting and project management have been able to create Standards and “Bodies of Knowledge“, this has been a challenge for us as a community.  Many things that are Best in a highly structured environment such as a regulated financial industry are 180 degrees from what is Best to support developers at a video game company, for example.  Granted, there are many commonalities, but no absolute Best Practices that will suit all environments.

If you want a good overview of the difficulties we face in creating Best Practices, I offer two items for discussion:  this post from SysAdmin1138, and the entire ITIL documentation set.

While defining Best Practices (for Everyone) appears to be a unicorn, defining “good practices” or measuring the capabilities and maturity of your sysadmin organization is a very tractable problem.

I’m a big fan of meaningful sysadmin metrics.  I don’t mean “number of tickets closed”, or “number of certifications completed” , but there are some meaningful ways to measure if your IT org is functioning, scalable and cost effective.

A great place to start is with The Limoncelli Test.  This is a quick self-assessment that will quickly give you some insight into how you’re doing, and some areas that might need attention.

Overall, the IT organization at my shop scores 23.  And now I know some areas that need attention.  Where does your org score?


  1. #1 by Jeff_A on August 1, 2011 - 8:52 am

    Hmmm. My current organization scores a ….five.

    Lower is better, right?

  2. #2 by tomperrine on August 1, 2011 - 9:10 am

    I’m gonna go with….. nope 😦 So at least now you have some ideas of where your org could use some work, right?

  3. #3 by Jeff_A on August 2, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    Sigh. Yeah, so much of it is arm-waving at people are perhaps not Limoncelli’s target audience.

    “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.”

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