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Small Automation, Big Impact

· 3 min read
Nico Dupont

Every single day, we spend quite a part of our work-time doing small, repetitive, and tedious tasks.

It has never been so easy to automate some parts of our work. Some companies made their core business of making it easier to automate all the things. Looking at you, Zapier and IFTTT!

Our time is our scarcest resource.

Avoiding spending time on low added value tasks also means being able to dedicate more time to more important business.

Some projects that have a more significant impact on our business, on our products, on our teams.

This week, I discovered a couple of automation initiatives within our team.

Community engineering.

We do build an open-source product. For intellectual property reasons, we need to ask each contributor to sign a Contributor Licence Agreement (CLA). And for each code contribution, coming as a GitHub pull request, we need to make sure the author has signed the CLA.

A mate built the following automation as a GitHub status check.

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He also added a command to be able to check directly from our slack.

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This automation creates a better experience for the contributor; he knows what he has to do. It allows the team to be more efficient, and it avoids mistakes, as it prevents any merge without a signed CLA.

Support & maintenance.

Our support and maintenance teams observed that they spent quite some time assigning tickets to each other. Then accessing the progress, checking if they need to do something for the others.

For instance, support assigns to the maintenance once they qualified a product bug. The maintenance team re-assigns to the support team once they fixed and deployed on a test environment.

They reviewed the workflow of their respective ticket boards. And added some cross automation based on the status of these tickets.

This change comes with a re-configuration of some dashboards. It helps each mate to exactly knows what's on his plate. And ensure the info is coming to the mate, no need to run after it through various boards.

It improves collaboration between teams, making the work easier for each mate. It decreases the lead time of a support ticket by reducing the time between actions. It results in faster answers to the problems of our users.

This website.

While writing about automation, I thought to the website you're currently browsing. I build this website with a Github repository, and I write the content using some markdown files. I have a local instance running with Docker to check the rendering. To publish the content, I write a pull request, and a CircleCI pipeline will deploy it in production once merged.

The value of this activity is in writing and sharing content, not in doing manual or tedious stuff around it.

And yes, I could use a blog engine, but it would be less fun. 🤖

Ok, let's publish now. 🚀

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