Richard Bown

The Theory of Automation

published3 months ago
1 min read

Lying at the connection between systems and people there are a bunch of us who find ourselves in the position of being the authority on how to make things work better.

How to solve that technical problem and how to fulfil a business need and very often this has little to do with efficiency or saving money. We are hired for our ability to see a line that others can't - or perhaps they have seen it but don't see it as making any noise about.

Sometimes in our excitement to find a solution that others find acceptable we get carried away with the sound of our own voice.

At that very point, we are in danger of jeopardising the very thing we were put there to do. When we come in fresh and we make noise, and make a good guess or a posit an acceptable theory, we are at our most vulnerable.

So when you feel that glow of pride in your own abilities, just temper it a little and leave the thought there. This isn't to say your instinct is wrong, it probably isn't. It's the next thought after your first one that we must be wary of, especially if you are talking to a room of people.

Automation should always be your last action.

The Theory of Automation says, when approaching a Task:

  1. Remove all unnecessary actions. What do you not need to do?
  2. Document whatever is left
  3. Look for similarities and patterns
  4. Automate the smallest re-usable part
  5. Fit the automation into your task and test thoroughly

When approaching our System we think differently.

For definitions see yesterday's blog post.

Expressing ideas clearly is an art form and I'm still learning to paint :) Let me know what you think by replying to this email.

- Richard

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