I posted this on Twitter today. I genuinely believe that automation empowers people and doesn’t replace people. That is a significant concern with DevOps from many. The more automation that happens in a system, the more time that is freed. That time goes back to you or your team. A common complaint with teams is that they need more people or never have the time to improve their quality of life. Automating the more mundane tasks gives people more time to improve the work-life. It also gives back mental capacity. Not having to think about these tasks reduces that cognitive load to apply that to other problems or be more relaxed. Both outcomes are a big win for the mental health of a team.
Automation has other advantages. People make mistakes. The more stuff that requires review increases the noise making it harder to focus on the truly valuable items. Automation can reduce that noise, providing focus to those reviews. That means that the team spends less time on making higher quality feedback loops. This will build confidence, and people will stop worrying about making mistakes as they will gain confidence in the system to catch those mistakes. It will also help people be more willing to experiment, to try new techniques. It can reassure them that they won’t be the cause of a failure. Failures will make it through the system, and that is the critical feedback loop for improving the system. Initially, many may want to abandon it because of the issue. That is the time to refine. No system is perfect.
While trying to automate a process or activity, it will bring all kinds of items to the surface. One concern will be unspoken, and that is the feeling of being replaced. Address that immediately and reassure others. After that, the next set of concerns will probably revolve around why it probably wouldn’t work. That is the time to challenge people to different perspectives and settle on ways to progress forward. It may be tiny steps ahead, and it will take some time for people to feel the investment. Give it time, and don’t push too hard for the next step.
I have plenty of other thoughts on this topic and related topics that I may or may not share at a future date. If you want to further discuss this with me, feel free to reach out on Twitter, Linked In, or GitHub to let me know.
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