Monday, June 08, 2009

Automation is Overrated!

Imagine that in our project we have a manual build process that is complex. Sadly, this is not that difficult to imagine. Obviously the manual build process is reducing our ability to release our software often. Close your eye for a minute and think how will you will solve this problem.
When I asked this question to some of my friends, most of them told me they will automate the build process. I bet even you came up with automating build process as a solution. Automating the build process looks like a logical solution. If you give some more thought, you will realize that we are just automating the complexity that is there in the build process. We are not simplifying the build process. Even though we automated our build process it is still complex and it is going to be difficult to change.
So next time before automating a complex process, first simplify that process. If you simplify a complex process, as a added bonus it will be easy to automate.

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Guoliang Cao said...

Sorry. I don't get it.

Apparently, your friends didn't understand your problem or your question very well, so they gave you the wrong answer. You should try to simplify the build process and then automate it. IMO, automation is very important, not just for build, but for everything that is done frequent enough.

Anonymous said...

We automate the build process not because it is complex but because it is repeatable. If the build process is complex and you still automate it (which is not logical in the first place) you are just shifting the point of complexity. Simplifying anything complex is not easy but essential in any case.

Siva Jagadeesan said...

@Guoliang Cao

Yes exactly Cao my friends have given wrong answer. The whole point of my blog is before we automate a process we should first simplify it. I totally agree Cao, that automation is important. But more than automation it is important to first simplify the process.

@Sai Venkatakrishnan

Yes Sai, we should not automate the complexity. But unfortunately many think that automation as a solution to simplify their complex process.

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