Get your priorities straight, then automate

What should be automated and what shouldn’t be automated, that is the question. What should be prioritized and where does one start? Don’t worry, we have practical tips for you. Grab a cup and let’s begin. (wink)

We have a saying “Get your priorities straight, THEN automate”. So before you start automating, you want to first brainstorm all ideas, then prioritize them before you begin. Why? The first reason is that all parts of a routine (or process) aren’t necessarily good things to automate. On the contrary, some parts are just too expensive to automate, since automation is also associated with a cost. Even though you use smart and efficient tools for business automation! You could also find, that in fact you don’t need to do anything with a certain part of a process. So before automating, first improve the routine and remove any unnecessary steps.

Let’s introduce a simple, yet powerful way of finding out where to start.

1️⃣ Step ONE – Brainstorming

Brainstorm and find all the routines for your team, yourself or your department. As an example you could use post-its, one per routine or activity and just get as many up on the wall. Group them and remove duplicates

2️⃣ Step TWO – Categorizing

Now it’s time to put each routine into a square that corresponds to the two axis – how often and how many.

The left hand axis is the frequency of how often the routine is performed.

  • Always – Something that is done on a daily basis
  • Often – Weekly
  • Sometimes – Monthly
  • Seldom – A couple times a year or less

The bottom axis is how many are actually doing it.

  • Everyone – yes, something everyone or at least almost everyone does
  • Many
  • Some
  • Few

3️⃣ Step THREE – Prioritizing

So which square should you start from and what to stay away from?

The area that is easy to stay away from is routines that are done seldom and by a few.

The danger zone (yellow) is a tricky one, because it could be routines that are worthy, but again might not be. One of the hazards here is if you got a team or group of people that are also loud in their way of addressing their needs. It can be something that is prioritized, but not really something worthy of automation if you take a step back and look at the big picture. So be weary about the danger zone!

Where to start looking for automation?

The golden stuff can be found in the green areas, routines everyone/many is doing always/often. The difficult part is is actually finding them, because it’s stuff that is done so often you might not even think about them. So you want to start in the green area and move yourself from there.

So, now it’s time to prioritize within the green area, and now you need to look at how difficult and/or what cost is attached to automating that routine. By doing this you start automating the easy, but valuable stuff first.

So before you start automating all your tasks, understand and map out what areas are most utilized and in need of automation. Areas used by many and often triggered is the starting point for all automation, and not necessarily where a few loud people scream most about. It’s also so easy to get all caught up in big automation projects that you tend to forget the everyday work which could be automated. Consider the things that actually affect the people, not only your business. Start small and improve from there. Big bang is usually not a recipe for success, unless perhaps you are building a universe, and it takes too long to launch in this fast pace world.

What do you think about this? How do you prioritize in your organization?

Connect with us and let us know what your thoughts are – and as always – we love feedback, in any form.

Think big, continuously act small and aim to be awesome.