Friday, July 24, 2009

Automation Vs Manual - Which one is better?

As a developer, would you like to automate everything? If not, on what criteria would you like to automate?

Few months back, I was asked to automate a task, and I directly rejected it, and I did not automate it.

The task was supposed to be done at max two times. If it is going to be run more than twice, then my Manager's Manager's Manager would become serious, and everyone knew that. Because of that, I assumed that, it would be run at max 6-8 times.

Automating the task would take one week, and manually doing the task would take 2 hours. But, nobody likes to do manual work, so there was pressure from all sides to automate that task. Still, I did not. I told them that, if they cannot do it, then I would be more than happy to do that. Spending 2 days doing manual work is the correct startegy for the project rather than spending 5 days for automating.

Unfortunately, most of the developers do not think like that. They are completely against manual tasks, and ready to spend 10x more time for automated tasks which are not at all required in the first place. The goal of the developers should be to improve the project and not to do something that looks good only in the project document. The real innovation will come up only when people do the best work for the project and not for the self.

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