We are a software engineering company with around 10 employees. We outsourced the sysadmin role to a contractor. The sysadmin's duties include maintaining a version control system, file server, VM Hypervisor, backup system, VPN, and setting up and maintaining developer notebooks.
The current contractor is often too slow or unable in implementing new features or fix issues. Sometimes to the point, that one of the software engineers does it himself. This is less than efficient because most devs don't know the system very well and have other duties.
So we want to fire the contractor and in-source the work. This would include hiring a new employee, however being a sysadmin is currently not a full time job (the contractor is here about a week per month). As we are understaffed already, the new sysadmin will have project duties assigned. That might be coding, testing, dealing with clients, whatever fits the person the most. There are enough tasks at hand.
The experience is, that everyone gets caught up in projects because they make money and have a pressing deadline, while the sysadmin work can always be done a week later. How can we implement guidelines, that allow the sysadmin to do his job, while still being able to do some project work in the surplus time?
As the company grows (currently at a rate of 50% per year) being a sysadmin will be a full time job and be treated as such.