Automation Pathfinder Program

Defining Responsibilities in the Automation Development Lifecycle

  • 26 October 2023
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Defining Responsibilities in the Automation Development Lifecycle
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Clearly defining roles and responsibilities is important in any team, especially in the world of automation when there may be lots of stakeholders and team members across the organization. The entire team collectively steers the ship toward successful automation implementation — as long as they know where they’re going and how they’re getting there. Let's explore the key players and their responsibilities in this dynamic ecosystem. Then, we'll uncover why defining these roles is so critical, and share an example of how skipping this step can take things off course.
 

What are the roles and responsibilities to be defined in the automation development lifecycle?

 

Automation roles can vary based on your organization's structure and the complexity of projects, but below are some common roles on the automation team, and their typical responsibilities.
 

  1. Automation Developer: The automation developer is responsible for designing, building, and maintaining automations. This requires a strong understanding of the automation tools and programming languages used in the organization. Their mission? Create automation solutions that not only work like a charm but also meet the business requirements.
  2. Automation Architect: The automation architect designs the overall Automation architecture and solution. They define the technical standards and best practices for automation development. They ensure the automation solution aligns with the organization’s IT infrastructure and security policies. They also provide guidance on the selection of automation tools and technologies.
  3. Automation Tester: These are the quality control enthusiasts of our automation realm. Their job? Taking those cool automations cooked up by the automation developer and giving them a spin. They're the detectives on the case, making sure everything runs like a well-oiled machine. If there's a bug lurking around, they're the ones who spot it, report it, and even team up with the developer to crack the code and fix it. It's like they're the guardians of smooth automation sailing.
  4. Process Analyst: The process analyst dives headfirst into the manual processes that are itching for automation. They work closely with business stakeholders to gather requirements, sniff out opportunities for automation, and then break it all down step by step. It's like they're writing the blueprint for future automations.
  5. Project Manager: The project manager is the one who keeps tabs on the whole show — setting the timelines, allocating resources, and making sure the automation train stays on the right track. But they're not just wrangling tasks; they're also making sure everyone's in sync and keeping the stakeholders in the loop.
  6. Subject Matter Expert (SME): The SME has super-specialized knowledge in the area that’s being automated. They work closely with the automation developer and process analyst. Together, they're diving into the nitty-gritty, offering insights, and clearing up any confusion.
  7. Automation Support: Automation support makes sure the backstage is in tip-top shape. They’re responsible for maintaining the infrastructure, including virtual machines, where automation runs. They ensure the smooth functioning of the automation environment and troubleshoot any issues related to it.
  8. Infrastructure Administrator: The infrastructure administrator sets up and maintains the automation infrastructure, including servers, databases (if applicable), and virtual environments. They ensure the availability and performance of automation environments. They implement security measures to protect sensitive data used by automations. They also monitor and troubleshoot infrastructure related issues.

 

Why is it so important to define roles and responsibilities in the automation development lifecycle?

 

Defining roles and responsibilities in the automation development lifecycle is crucial for several reasons. First, it creates clarity and accountability. When everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and who to approach for specific tasks, there’s less confusion and more productivity.

It also allows tasks to be allocated more effectively. Think about a choreographed dance routine — it's a hit when everyone knows their steps, right? Same goes for automation. When everyone has their role dialed in, you're on the express lane to meeting project deadlines.

Having clearly defined roles also facilitates better collaboration. When everyone knows where they fit in the puzzle, communication is stronger. There’s a sense of unity and cooperation. Everyone’s on the same page, and that united front leads to some seriously impressive results.

There will always be obstacles and challenges along the way, but defining roles helps to mitigate some risk. More clarity and accountability means fewer and less significant hurdles. You can catch issues before they snowball, saving time, money, and your sanity.

Lastly, defining roles and responsibilities puts team members on a path to success. When they know their specific responsibilities, they can hone in on specialized skills — putting them on a clear career path within the automation team.

To recap, defining roles and responsibilities aids in:

  • Clarity and accountability
  • Efficient workflow
  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Risk mitigation
  • Professional growth

Now you know the upsides, but let’s take a look at what happens when you don’t clearly define automation roles and responsibilities.

Unclear Roles

  • Misalignment and Overlaps
  • Inadequate Testing and Validation
  • Communication Breakdown
  • Missed Deadlines and Quality Issues

Clear Roles

  • Efficient Collaboration
  • Effective Testing and Validation
  • Streamlined Communication
  • Successful Project Management

 

What happens when roles and responsibilities are unclear

 

The automation team at ABC Solutions, a fictional company, embarked on an ambitious automation project without clearly defining individual roles and responsibilities. They had all the right players — automation developers, testers, process analysts, and project managers — but they were unclear about how they fit into the larger automation development lifecycle. Without a clear game plan, things started to look like a jigsaw puzzle thrown into the air.

First, there was misalignment and overlaps. Team members often stepped on each other’s toes, leading to conflicts and duplicated efforts. Automation developers were working on tasks that the process analysts were already tackling, causing unnecessary delays.

When it came to testing and validation, crucial testing steps were either missed or not carried out adequately. As a result, faulty automations were deployed, leading to process disruptions and negative impacts on business operations.

Communication was a nightmare. There was confusion about who to approach for specific queries or updates, leading to delays in resolving critical issues. And it should come as no surprise that there were missed deadlines and quality issues. Without clear project managers, tasks were often not tracked efficiently, leading to project delays.

So, what's the lesson here? In the world of automation, defining roles and responsibilities isn't just a rule – it's critical to success. Take the time to make sure everyone is aligned and crystal clear about what they're responsible for. Trust us, your automation story will have a much happier ending.
 


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