At Mav, we talk a lot about what are good use cases for bots and automation. I used to think it was as simple as answering this question: Can a robot do this job better than a human? 🤔
Except, it’s not that simple… Robots should serve and enable humans. Yet, us as an industry often ignore the question, “what if the human enjoys doing this job?”
The biggest value of automation is freeing humans from mundane tasks they hate doing. Why automate the things they love to do?
Beyond that, just because a task can be automated, doesn't necessarily mean that it should be automated. It's important to weigh the business goals and values, the result of what's being automated, and the user experience. If a user is going to experience more friction through this automation, or if the business reputation will suffer if something goes wrong, I'd highly advise against automating that task.
With all of this in mind, I created this simple mental model to help identify valuable opportunities for automation.
1. Do you (the human) enjoy doing this task? Is this how you differentiate yourself, do you feel good about it and/or gain energy from doing this task?
If yes: Stop. Find shit you hate and automate.
If no: Continue.
2. Could a robot do this job better than a human? Is the task, experience, or job exponentially better when a robot does it vs a human?
If yes: Continue. If no: Stop. Revisit at a later time.
3. Is this something that could be automated? Is there a documented process, API’s, and the technical systems in place to facilitate the automation?
If yes: Continue.
If no: Stop. Revisit at a later time.
4. Is this something that should be automated? If automation failure occurs will it be disastrous? AKA: I’m sure the nuclear football can be automated, but holy shit should it be?
If yes: Automate.
If no: Stop.