I love Digital, DEVOPS, and automation, I totally love it. But waiting 1.5 hours for the second time this week for what I consider to be a simple update of my account in a bank that is proud to be leading the digital revolution, just emphasized to me what I knew anyway – there are easy ways to kill a process even if it is a Digital (or for that matter DEVOPS) process. While our expectations are rising as users as wonders are promised, Digitization can make a huge different but it can’t fix everything that is broken.
Here are five common mistakes that can totally kill a Digital/DEVOPS process:
- The simplest one – BUGs. As I waited for the bank teller (who was extremely nice) to call IT, get a hold of them after fighting IVR and get them to fix the problem , the importance of quality and everything we are peaching for in regards to it seemed even more important than ever. Digital is not digital if it doesn’t work flawlessly or doesn’t work at all. In this arena, in my view – no shortcuts and half baked software, no compromises even on levels we could compromise before. Do not launch a new digitized or automated process if it’ doesn't work flawlessly.
- Human “Digital” Approvals – Watching the teller looking for someone who needed to digitally approve something in the process but was not there reminded me how in one of my favorite employers who I worked for a long time the recruitment approval process was automated and it was supposed to work faster and better, only we could never get a recruitment request approved anymore (and maybe it was the intention ? 😊). What took 2 weeks before, became a 2-3 months process at best and basically a never ending process. So many people were added as approvers to the whole automatic process, most of them did not have any relevancy to the specific project/team/customer needs, and did not have a clue why they should approve the request. I see the same happens sometimes with DEVOPS in processes like deployment or change approval. Too many approvers in the process and what was supposed to be fast automatic process becomes the longest as someone need to literally chase relevant and irrelevant people for approvals. So what to do ? in general – consider each approval from cost effective perspective, if it worth holding the process for it and what is the “cost”, reduce “nice to have” approvals, if possible – use automatic approval (and also consider each one of those very carefully).
- Over automating – Those who over-automate in the DEVOPS world put tools before processes and overlook specifics. They tend to chose a tool or technology based on what is popular and usually end up with too many tools that make them have to change their process for the tools, which is totally OK if it improves the process, but in many cases it does the opposite. Development teams in hi-tech and IT that are still working “older” technologies or complex environments don’t like hearing facebook and google deploy code updates every few minutes and moreover, it is not relevant for them. What is relevant to them is – what can be automated and upgraded in their development environment to make it faster. In the Digital world on the other hand, you might think you cannot over automate, but it is not the case – there might be very high abandon rate to a digital process that will not allow the user human intervention on time.
- Another obvious one – friendliness and performance. Think as a user now. How many digital processes you know and use that are still not friendly at all? Probably you know more than you use, as most of us will not continue to use a non-friendly one. In DEVOPS this specific one is a bit different as mostly technical people use the DEVOPS automations, tools and reporting as such allowing more complexity is OK, but still choosing tools and interfaces that are over complicated and not friendly, from what I see cause people (even technical people) not to use them anymore and miss the purpose.
- Last one – Control. As much as we love the simplicity of automation, we also love control. I hate it when the digital process makes me close pop-ups one after the other and fight BOTs of all kinds that are blocking my view. This is to me as a user the 180 experience of the first example I gave with the bank and also related to the over automation I mentioned above. Too much surprises in the process are making it tedious and annoying. Let the users have a sense of control (even if they don’t really fully have it).
To sum, as a huge process believer, I love what automation, Digital and DEVOPS can do to our reality as users and as IT people.
Only, as greater and better said before me –
“If you focus on the goal and not the process, you inevitably compromise. Businessmen who focus on profits wind up in the hole. For me, profit is what happens when you do everything else right.” Yvon Chouinard, (rock climber, environmentalist, and outdoor industry billionaire businessman. )
So just do it right 😊