Now if only we could automate the automation.

Allspaw has some good advice for Ops-focused SaaS vendors:

But for the companies who rely on your value-add selling point(s) as:

  • “our product will tell you when things are going wrong” and/or
  • “our product will automatically fix things when it finds that something is wrong”

the implication is that these things will somehow relieve the engineer from thinking or doing anything about those activities, so that they can focus on more ‘important’ things. “Well-designed automation will keep people from having to do tedious work”, the cartoon-like salesman says.

Please stop doing this. It’s a lie in the form of marketing material and it’s a huge boondoggle that distracts us away from focusing on what we should work on, which is to augment and assist people in solving problems.

The bigger problem, of course, is the buyers who fall for this kind of stuff.

Automation of monitoring, deployment, updates, or anything else does not mean you get to stop thinking about that stuff. It means you have to start thinking about it in a fundamentally different way, and you will still need people who can do that.

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