3 rule of thumb when it comes to automation

There is a race between human and robot (as seen below). Who is going to win this race. Well we all know that it will be robot. Now imagine the person is usain bolt. Who is going to win that race. May be usain bolt the first time. Lets race again. Who will win now. May be again usain. Lets race last time. Now who will win !! :):) Usain do get tired guys, trust me, Robot will win

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Very recently I had done the survey of big brands and agencies on the topic of devops and automation. What was very surprising was how they responded to couple of questions related to automation

First question, what is most important initiative for them when it comes to devops. Answer from more than 90% was automation.

Second question. What have they seen not working effectively in organisation. Answer from more than 90% was automation

Now that makes you think why most important initiative of the company is not working effectively.

After doing some more research on this and seeing how we are doing automation for some of the brands, here are my 3 rule of thumb when it comes to automation

  • First rule. Think of automation as automation with noops. Assume you have to do automation with no operations team to support i.e. if you are automating build and deployment then automate assuming there are no infrastructure people to execute any of the commands, if you are automating environment creation then assume it will be all with one click, if you are automating testing then assume there will no tester to execute those or validate the outputs You know what I am saying. Think NOOPS. This will make you to think differently in every aspect of automation
  • Second rule. If there is anything you are doing more than twice then consider automation. If there is anything you are doing three times then automate. You cannot go wrong if you apply this rule
  • Third rule. Now the trap, even after doing above, few people still do not succeed. This is because they see automation very manually :P:P. As a rule, please make sure you use all of the modern tools which are available to automate rather than going ahead and creating those automation scripts manually. If you do this manually then invariable the effort to maintain those scripts will outweigh the effort to do things manually in the first place. You can refer all of the modern day tools over here

As I am into an analogy of manufacturing a car, google’s self driving car is a great example of how all of the above rules are applied.

Car works without anyone seating in the driver’s seat (noops) and they have made use of all the modern tools and sensors to make it work. Imagine the kind of accuracy in automation which is needed to make sure it still works in traffic, in the tunnel , without gps signal, with road closures and the likes

Would love to know more thoughts if you have come across anything else in this space. Automation with noops is one of my passion, is that yours ??


2 thoughts on “3 rule of thumb when it comes to automation

  1. I think there is still a debate to be had here around automation. We both like the value it adds to quality and pace of delivery but I would like to see evidence of the capital outlay for automating a typical e-comm store (both on premise and SaaS) and then the TCO for maintaining vs the tangible benefits that it delivers. Such a study would make it far easier to sell. For us operating in the Demandware space, it adds cost to the project in a very competitive space and without being able to clearly demonstrate the ROI it is hard to convince non converted people of the value.

    • Good point. I was of the same opinion as you until couple of years back when I saw distinct value for couple of big brands. Maintainance is a very valid point. Unless you have a mind set of automation with noops, you will always consider automation as a checklist rather than in the DNA of how we operate. It needs a parading shift in our thinking but based on my experience and value it has generated it is all worth it. Happy to have a conversation offline to share more experiences

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