manual until it hurts

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XKCD cartoon of a graph of work vs time showing how much time you think you will save by automating something vs how much time it may actually take, captioned Automation XKCD cartoon with a table of how long something takes to automate vs how much time it will save you, captioned Is It Worth the Time? @_workchronicles cartoon: we see a programmer, working on a project, thinking 'I should probably automate this step. It will save me six minutes next time'. The cartoon shows the programmer stressed, with a dozen coffee mugs, six hours later, with a co-worker asking 'Why don't just just do it manually for now' - for what the programmer respond 'go away.'

manual until it hurts is an indieweb principle of resisting automation until you have done it enough times to really understand it, and know that it is worth doing.


Tantek Çelik proposes this rough equation: manual as long as the cost to doing so has a greater benefit than the reduced cost of doing it automatically minus the cost of setting up / maintaining automation.

See Also