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Toiling is HARD WORK !!

One of the "compulsory" read for anyone who want to start their DevOps journey is "Site Reliability Engineering". There are many nuggets from the book and I tried to blog those I like in my own interpretations. One of it is the chapter on Toil defined as "work extremely hard or incessantly". From the book, it defines:

Below is a simple checklist which I use to check my own "toil" at work and I call it

The Toil Buster Questionnaire:

  • Question 1 - Manual Labor

  • Do you have to start the script manually ? Even starting the scripts or executing line by line or file by file ?

  • Question 2 - Doing "It" > 3x

  • First 2 times you did manually are not Toil, more than that - YES !!!

  • Questions 3: Can Machine(Cyborg, Droid,etc) take over your job ?

  • If there are no human judgments (feelings for example) needed and can be implemented by a conditional statement.

  • Question 4: Tactical

  • If it is interrupt-driven (from surfing the web - kidding) and reactive.

  • Question 5: No value added after you work on it

  • No added value after you fix or work the issue. Then it is probably a toil.

  • Question 6: More bodies as load increases

  • The need to increase the manpower is proportion to the increasing load. Chances are you have a big toil to be tackled.

Hence this is the checklist I would use to check my tasks and my team's tasks and classify if they are toils. Will see if I can further make these questions easier for people to remember.

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