Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Real life: Automation and teaching your kids

[This was originally posted at http://timstall.dotnetdevelopersjournal.com/real_life_automation_and_teaching_your_kids.htm]

We have 2.5 kids. Cute little bunch - but very dependent on Mom and Dad. Every few minutes, they come back to us, needing something. Of course, our goal is to teach each kid to just take care of things - brush their own teeth, pick up their toys, eat their food, etc... And then, ideally they could string all these acts together and just take care of themselves for some time on end. Especially as the older one learns to do this, it frees us up to focus on other things - like the young one throwing toys at the wall. Especially with the second, and third, you realize that you don't scale - there are too many kids per parent - you need to make them self-sufficient, at least for a time.


This reminds me much of automated process. Both ideally could be on autopilot. Both come back to me asking for help (my console app burped on a bad xml input file, my service didn't handle the machine restart, my build script crashed on spaces in a filename, etc...). While it's cute to initially have your pet application that you baby-sit and marvel in awe of how well it churns through those calculations, soon you'll have a new pet application, and you'll need that first one to be self sufficient.


One more similarity - you hope that one day they'll both make you rich. The kid will strike it big and take care of Mom & Dad in their old age, and those .Net applications will keep delivering business value and keep you employed. [just kidding]


Although, of course the analogy breaks down because the kiddies are so much cuter, but you get the idea...

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