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I have a colleague who I really like, and he's taking a bit of time to help me with a project that requires access to an application that he, by chance, is the only one with administrative access to. I'm an IT administrator, and have access to...just about everything, but by coincidence, not this.

He's senior to me, but in a different department (mind you we are each in a department of two people), and has made it clear that he's happy to help but only has a limited amount of time. However, I know that I could move this project along entirely on my own if given access to this application, but he seems to be avoiding it totally (in a friendly but evasive way). I think it is to protect his 'turf', so to speak, given that this is a very important application and he is the only one who is experienced in it (as he is the only one with access to it, and one of very few technically savvy people at the organization; this makes him invaluable, as this is a core application).

I'm looking for suggestions on how best to navigate this given the below information:

It's totally friendly
I want to get administrative access
I don't want to harm my relationship with my colleague
I want to ensure he feels secure in his role as "master" of that domain, while also granting me access

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The first thing to do is figure out why he's concerned about other folks having administrative access to the application. There may be issues other than him wanting to maintain control of it. Maybe there are undocumented things that could cause someone not intimately familiar with the application to accidentally do something very damaging. You said yourself "given that this is a very important application and he is the only one who is experienced in it". Are you absolutely confident that you know enough to be mucking around with it with elevated privileges?

Once you understand why he's reluctant to give you administrative access, you will have a better idea of how to convince him that you should have access. You might view it as "turf-protecting", but he might be protecting something more important.

Administrative access is not something that should be given away lightly, and I think you should make it clear when you talk to him that you respect his caution (whether you do or not - you should respect it though ;) ) and that you're willing to work within the boundaries he sets. I would also explain to him how beneficial it would be to him to have a trusted back-up in case something needs to be handled while he's on vacation or otherwise unavailable. I think if you took the "train me so I can help you" tack, you might be able to convince him.

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