Published: Wednesday, October 7th, 2020.
Banner - Step 3 - Real Time Mentoring Options for Your Developers

Real-Time Mentoring Options for Your Developers

So far in this series, we’ve covered the importance of  process discovery with knowledge domain experts and enterprise grade automation development. In part, effective execution of these delivery stages will accelerate your automation program. In part three of this series, we turn our focus to why leveraging service providers as mentors to your internal developers is important to your intelligent automation program’s success.

We tell almost every customer and prospect the same thing: the long term success of an automation program is heavily dependent on the ability to become self-sufficient.

It’s not that we don’t want to stick around to help and watch them learn and grow, or that we won’t be there when they eventually expand into the newest, latest tech—we’ll be there for both. But in order for an automation program to achieve peak value and scale, organizations must establish and mature an internal automation capability.

Don’t get us wrong, we believe organizations should begin their automation journey working with a service provider, like Agilify. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence that doing so is more efficient and effective than trying to do things on your own. But eventually, organizations will trim spending for consultant work, or they’ll ask service providers to begin supporting their next intelligent automation initiative. In either case, moving to an internal automation capability is inevitable.

Establishing a fully robust internal automation capability is no small task; it would take an entire book to outline the makeup of a full-scale automation operating model. But organizations don’t have to tackle the entire model at once. Instead, they should begin by ensuring the heart of their internal automation program is well-oiled.

Just as an engine is the heart of an automobile, automation development teams are the heart of an automation program. Sure, selecting the right processes is important, but a high-quality candidate is useless without an effectively developed automation solution. And when service providers are peeled (or even worse, ripped) away, your organization needs a plan.

With so much weight on the shoulders of internal development teams, how can your organization effectively train and equip developers with the knowledge they need to deliver enterprise grade solutions?

Continued education is good…but mentorship is better

It never hurts to start with training. There are many options to choose from: self-paced, instructor-led, web forums, etc. While these mediums can be valuable, they will only elevate a new developer’s skill set to a foundational level. Advanced development capabilities require time and experience—neither of which are achieved in a week-long course.

Unfortunately for most new developers, after training, their organization’s unwittingly expect them to build and deliver complex solutions. With limited experience and the absence of a support structure, developers are often left alone to overcome development challenges, resulting in prolonged stalls throughout solution delivery. Or worse yet, failed solution delivery.

While many service providers rely heavily on their ability to take over and perform development for struggling organizations, a true partner will also offer the option to step in and assume the role of development mentor. This approach improves an organization’s chances of achieving desired benefits and remaining on track for a self-sustaining model.

Two things to looks for in an intelligent automation service provider

Ask your service provider how they impart their delivery and development knowledge into the minds of your team members. Look for the following capabilities:

  1. Dual hands-on development and active mentoring: As much as you expect service providers to develop quality solutions for your program, you should also expect that their consultants are active and willing to collaborate and cross-train on development standards and best practices with your team members.
  2. Live development support options: This could include things like dedicated mentorship options, live over-the-phone development support, and routine design/code review. Each of these options are geared towards ensuring developers are empowered to obtain support where needed, and that they will learn during the exchange.

If you find that your team is not learning and excelling from their engagement with your service provider, it might be time to reevaluate your partnership. A partner, like Agilify,  will impart their knowledge upon your development team without hesitation. Knowledge is power, and when your partner shares their knowledge, your internal development capability will accelerate your automation program to new heights.

In part four we will explore why improving bot health in your production environment is so important to the success of your automation program.