Automating the Mundane

So many of the processes, that we perform in the business of software development, are unnecessary, repetitive, mind-numbing, and mundane. Whenever I find myself with the freedom to do so, I focus my skills on automating the mundane.

I would like to think that, in the course of my work, I regularly achieve something similar to this “Automatically manage signing” option in the Apple Xcode IDE:

Before this option was introduced, a developer would be unable to build anything, not even a throw-away prototype, without first dealing with key/certificate/device management headaches.

These processes are nothing more than wastes of time and barriers to creativity. That they can be automated with the checking of a box is a tell: We need not waste our time with this anymore. Yet we surround ourselves with processes, regularly sacrificing potentially prosperous IP at the altar of “due process.”

What a waste.

Business plans, even those most optimistic, should be calling out the wasteful processes that we pay for in the form of unrealized potential. Every deliberative step, that stands in the way of progress and blocks creativity, should be automated, simplified, or altogether eliminated.

When I was in the IT Management business, I created an automated network printer setup program that made printing a test page obsolete. We received awards and accolades from customers, who no longer had to pay their employees to go through that process (or pay for all that paper, ink, and electricity). Yet we continued to encounter the occasional IT professional that preferred to manually go through the printer setup algorithm, somehow wanting or needing to see that “Congratulations” page pop out.

Take a look at the processes that plague your workplace. Honestly ask yourself how much of it all is really necessary to keep repeating. When you are ready to have the mundane automated, I hope you will look me up: It’s what I’m here for.