Automation: when it’s too much?

Automation: when it’s too much?

In the case of a programmer, productivity is difficult to measure. One of the causes is the complexity of the projects we are currently working on.
We cannot only measure the LOC (lines of code); we must also consider the quality of the written code.

It’s counterintuitive, but by working fewer hours, we can become more productive. First, by focusing on the task at hand, we can finish it more quickly. Secondly, we will be more inclined to find smarter solutions able to fit in a short time span. You can read more about this in Itamar Turner-Trauring’s article here.

For smart solutions, it is advisable to take advantage of automation. We can reduce the manual handling of simple tasks or more complex task series to make processes more efficient. Indeed, making computers work for us is the future because it allows us to solve more essential issues, which require creativity rather than doing the same repetitive and monotone tasks.

However, we must keep in mind that not everything is worth automating. We don’t want to take it to an unproductive extreme. There are situations where it is less efficient, in terms of time or cost than solving the problem manually. If our problem is not commonly encountered, it makes no sense to invest time in automating a solution. While some businesses do not automate at all, others consider that you should digitalize each process. The later might be true, within certain limits. It is up to us to consider what will solve more problems than it will create. We should strive to find our own (profitable) balance.

Automation is about taking once manual processes and placing technology around them to be inherently repeatable. If our operations are already defective or malfunctioning, then we only make them happen faster. We should focus our efforts on making already existing processes work well. Once those are in check, we can move on to optimize or automate it.

Takeaway: not all processes can, or should, be automated.

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