Optimize Your Human/Robot Mix for Ferocity with Confidence

Experienced agilists know that if you want to be fierce and move fast, you need confidence that you can charge ahead without leaving a mess behind. Strategically, this means defining the things you already understand so tightly that you can hand them off to robots. With automation guarding your back, you can focus your human energy on conquering new challenges. That’s the theory anyway. In the mess we call real life, most of us struggle to draw the line between human work and robot work, so we frequently end up with frustrated humans chasing ineffective robots.

In the context of real life on the shop floor, how can we optimize our robot/human mix in a way that frees the most human energy to perform the most human work? In this session, we will approach the question from two perspectives: DevOps and software testing. Both have the same general problem but they bring different needs and difficulties.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

The session will be driven by a single question: what is the appropriate mix of human and robotic effort in my functional area?

  • The kind of work that humans do well
  • The kind of work that robots do well
  • Example mix from real life: software testing at CyberGRX
  • Example mix from real life: DevOps at CyberGRX
  • Discussion: let's talk about your mix

Learning Outcome

Participants will be equipped to think strategically and pro-actively about what they should and should not automate, rather than reacting to each proposed solution in isolation.

Spoiler: DevOps and test represent opposite extremes. Charles will argue (quite strongly) that humans belong in the Dev part and the entire Ops part should be automated. Mike will argue (equally strongly) that testing is a learning activity and therefore very human. The role for robots in the test function is to aid the humans in their learning and to detect unexpected changes. The lesson we hope to share from this contrast is that the question about appropriate mix does not have a single "right" answer.

Target Audience

managers, team leads, students

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

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