“Manual tasks of today should be the Automated tasks of tomorrow”.
There are lots of Automation tools available to people and businesses today to automate tasks that are carried out in a manual way. The pace at which this is happening is varying based on Habits and Patterns that we use on a daily basis. Also because change is involved which sometimes causes its own set of anxieties and issues.
Back in 2012 Bruno Oliveir published a graph on G+ on Geeks and repetitive tasks, which, shows a view of time vs task and how as geek vs non geek might approach automation.
An alternative view was published by Jon Udell in 2012 – Another way to think about geeks and repetitive tasks which shows an alternative view adding in more steps to show repetition.
xkcd has an interesting view on the subject that does ring true in some cases where something does not exist and needs to be created in order to Automate.
You need to be careful that in spending lots of time in trying to automate a task, that you don’t may spend more time in developing automation than could have been spent actually doing the task.
To get over this an element that is missing from these graphs is reuse and blueprints/patterns. The chances are that someone else has had a go at doing what your about to automate so there may be something to reuse rather than developing something yourself.
There are lots of tools and code repositories available today with more being developed. It will depend upon what you are automating as what to use.
Some of the tools available include;
There are too many to list – lots of others available.
Using an Agile approach as well may reduce the length of the task size line on the graph as you do not need to boil the ocean to automate. Break up tasks into their components and you may find it easier to automate.
These tools are also bringing the geek and non geek lines together as Application’s and API’s make it easier for automation to be implemented. The plot of the graph changes into a repeatable process and in effect becomes a loop for both the geeks and non geeks.
So what will you automate today?
A long time ago we had a fantastic tool which few have heard of. It was the tiny text editor that accompanied the WordPerfect word processing program. It pre-dated Windows programming and included an advanced macro editing language that was in the main product itself. Almost any sequence of tasks could be turned into a macro and then run once or even X times if you wanted to.
To this day there still isn’t a text editor that has this level of functionality. That program (ED.EXE) no longer is compatible with modern systems, unfortunately. If you could have used this program you would possibly understand how wonderful/useful its ad hoc macro creation feature was. Guess I’ll have to recreate something like that.
The “Habits and Patterns” link in the article takes me to a WordPress login page.
Max Hemingway said:
Thanks for pointing out. I have fixed the link in the article.
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