Dry July encourages people to give up alcohol for the month of July and raise funds for cancer patients and their families and carers. In software engineering, DRY is simply an acronym for Don’t Repeat Yourself and is a principle aimed at reducing repetition. Being Dry July it is a good time to look at applying this principle across all kinds repetition in your processes and organization.
The DRY process applies everywhere you look. Ever answered a customer question via email and had someone else ask a similar question sometime later? There is an opportunity to be DRY. Whenever you are giving information to someone, put the answer in a place it can be reached by others who may need to know, like a web site or knowledge base and reply including the link.
Do you find yourself doing the same process over and over? Be DRY, Don’t Repeat Yourself. Identifying where you are repeating yourself, and investing in a solution is worth investigating, the time and headspace saved pays back big returns. There are many options to make common tasks automated. Zapier and IFTTT are great solutions for automating workflows through integrating systems of all kinds.
I found my monthly process around organizing agendas, notifying members, distributing minutes and following up action items for two committees a great opportunity to be DRY. With Process PA we automate the processes around management committee meetings. Giving me time to add value to a committee beyond administration.
When should you automate a process? Tasks you repeat frequently are an obvious target with quick gains. Sometimes however it is the task that is only done every month as it takes a longer time to get you or new staff proficient at it. If you have a process that many people are doing, the returns for automating are even greater. Many small things can be easily automated, like creating invoices from PayPal sales, adding daily metrics into an Excel sheet from many sources, or scheduling follow ups to emails. All which prevent context switching and adds up to increase your productivity.
So this July, why not take Steve Baxter out for a drink with all the time and money you’ll be saving with DRY process and raise some money for cancer research at the same time.
What unlikely tasks have you been able to make DRY?