Automating in stages

When building a home, what gets completed first the foundation or the kitchen cabinets?  Seems obvious right?  A home is built in stages.

That’s why I find it so odd when many firms try to skip steps when implementing automation and technology.  I believe it to be a fundamental misunderstand of how the process should work.

If this has happened to your firm, then I also wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t work out as expected.  Even if you think you’re ready for the latest tools, your firm likely isn’t.  You can only move at the pace of your team or face the harsh reality of rejection which could cause your whole project to fail.


When I was working for The Vanguard Group, I was in charge of finding and eliminating systems administration bottlenecks.  Once such project had me trying to figure out how to automate the process of checking our server backups.

Now, I could have automated everything in one shot, but that would have left the management team scrambling to try and understand what I had done.  If I took that step (jumped to the end) they would have rejected it.  It wouldn’t even matter if it worked.

Instead I learned where the team was currently so I could map out the process from beginning to end in stages.

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First, I automated the way they were doing it today (using spreadsheets).  Once they were comfortable with that, I was able to automate away the spreadsheet step.  Eventually, I was able to build the entire process into a SaaS (software-as-a-service) model that could be accessed from a web browser from anywhere.

In the end, they were overjoyed with the results.  I saved thousands of employee-hours which freed 95% of the team up to work on more complicated projects AND the project delivered better results than ever.  We were catching failures faster and mitigating them before they became a much bigger and more expensive problem.


They key is that you MUST leverage automation and technology in stages.  If you don’t, your entire project could fail.


Talk soon,

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