The virtue of indolence


It has long appeared to me that people see virtue in making work. I see virtue in laziness. Or rather, I see virtue in eliminating work.

As a freelancers I see part if my role on an contract as eliminating as much of the purpose for my presence as possible. This means optimizing away my role, generally through process efficiency (ensuring there are no extraneous operations in the process), automating as much as possible, and ensuring that my role is not performing tasks that can be performed by others.

Process efficiency

Examine you product lifecycle and eliminate all unnecessary steps in the process. If a step is not essential, remove it. If a step can be optional, make it optional. If you can reduce the number tasks in a process step, then do so. Bear in mind that a good design is not arrived at by adding features but by removing features until you have the least possible without compromising the objective of the design.

Automation

Automate everything you can. If you repeatedly create certain reports then create a scheduled job to run any scripts required to generate them. Make reports availble on a website if they are for general consumption, or e-mail them to controlled list if they are for a restricted audience.

Automate all builds and make sure you automate all deployment and testing. Any output from testing (including things like test results, coverage data and performance statistics should be collected and published on a website).

Automate baseline promotion if at all possible.

Make baselines that pass each test cycle available for automated deployment into the next test environment. Make this a ‘one button’ demand from the target test environment manager.

Task reassignment

Closely related to process efficiency, task reassignment is ensuring that your role is not performing inappropriate tasks that distract from work that you are needed for. Often a role, especially a role such as configuration, change or build management accumulates tasks by default. Make sure that all tasks in the processes are assigned to the appropriate owner.

For example, these roles are often tasked to produce ad hoc reports. It is better to make it easy for others to create their own reports as they need them. In this way you eliminate the need to burden yourself preparing reports that people can produce themselves. The cost may be a small amount of time training people to prepare their own reports, but this is more than offset by the time gained in not preparing every ad hoc report required by users.

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