NAE: Automation and Time

Time is the enemy of everything in the field of IT. It doesn’t matter whether you are a designer or operator. Time is your sworn enemy.

In all the training and certifications I’ve ever done, all that is missing is a knighting ceremony in which a sword is laid on your shoulders and you’re sworn in to be an enemy of the phenomena.


Time is a speculative investment, time is relative, highly subjective and makes us emotional. It offers us unsolvable yet predictable challenges. We only ever hear “we need more time”. Managers demand it and engineers beg for it. Everything costs time and nothing will give us time back. Given that last statement, high return time investments are key.

In software, we’ve moved to agile, which lets us split software releases up in to super tiny chunks. Instead of a huge development cycle followed by huge deployment and troubleshooting window, we’ve moved to a tiny slice model, in which we do a tiny amount of design, a tiny amount of coding and a tiny amount of deployment and troubleshooting. This move allows us to target the highest priorities quicker and target more accurately, which results in appearing to be more reactive to business needs. Blobs of time for each phase are still consumed, but because we consume them in smaller doses, it doesn’t feel so bad does it? We might have saved a bit of time, but the real gain here is agility and the ability to react to changing needs. Not all requirements will ever be met and items rapidly are pushed on and pushed off a list.

A point I’m trying to make here is that good design and approach, whilst it takes time, can smooth out and reduce either big blog or tiny slice allocations of time. It’s an investment and returns positive results and cannot be swept to one-side in the name of Agile or DevOps.

Moving along to automation in the networking space and kaboom. Maturity is still low, design is immature to non-existent and the idea of allocating time to do experiments so we can gain experience is abrasive. Let 2019 be the year of sensible actions and an awakening to the fact that engineering takes design, experimentation and solid recording of outcomes and results. Once the methodologies are known and the design style and parlance is adopted, then we can ask for a reduction in task time. If you’re not prepared to invest to accumulate, then you’re asking for miracles and encouraging guess work.


Engineering in any field is both scientific and an art. It takes creativity, calculations, analysis and retrospectives. Time is an element in all of these and investing it wisely can reduce the quantity of it spent elsewhere.

Good luck and good fortune for 2019!


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  • Tags: Automation
  • Categories: Automation