I was recently talking with a friend of mine who owns his own company. He shared his frustration that customers want him to develop automated solutions that:
- Make tasks easier for their staff
- Help the workflow move faster
- And have no trade-offs
The first two conditions are pretty easy to deliver. But that third one is a whopper.
Automation cannot be accomplished without trade-offs. The assembly line (often attributed to Henry Ford) was a wonderful invention…but it came with trade-offs like higher parts inventory, fewer custom build options, and reduced worker motivation.
Consider the automation of the common screwdriver (electric drill). Today’s cordless tools have nearly eliminated the need for a basic tool like a screwdriver…but not without trade-offs. To name a few:
- The cordless drill is more expensive than a screwdriver
- The cordless drill is much heavier than a screwdriver
- A regular screwdriver never has a dead battery
The same with is true with software automation…whether it’s a basic Excel spreadsheet…or a complex database query.
Always anticipate and prepare for trade-offs that lie ahead. If you don’t know what they are, you haven’t looked far enough ahead into the future.
Thanks for listening.