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Maintenance Foundations Maintenance Management

Digital Skills for Maintenance-Part 4: Automate or Delegate

Delegation is a skill but to create your own digital delegate that’s not a communication or a interpersonal skill, that’s a digital skill.

Delegation is a life long skill that would ease your life and give you a margin to focus on some of your duties. The other part of you duties you delegate to someone who can focus on them. This delegation is a key soft skill because at the end of the day they are your duties. Missing to fulfill them or delegating them to someone who poorly handle them is your responsibility. You can delegate one of your duties like leading a meeting, sending a report or approving a request. The one whom you select for this delegation need to be fitting for this delegation.

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A candidate suitable for delegation will generate the correct output from the task . Also, he/her will do it as per the organizational policies. And, will create no conflicts. To be able to handle this delegation properly, you need to train him/her, give them a pilot delegation, then trust their performance and finally create a fallback if something went wrong.

Digital Delegation

It is when you rely on a digital system to do some of your repeated tasks. In other words, you automate a task that it will run without your attendance or at least attention. Let’s follow up with a couple of examples that would make it clear. Think about a daily report that you send to a mailing list at a certain. The first approach was to create a mailing list then we grape the report attach to the email and select the mailing list. If we need to automate this task, then we need a script that send this email instead of me. First of all when we say script we mean by it a set of instruction written in a scripting language.

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A scripting language is a programming language that manipulate, customize, and automate the facilities of an existing system.  Traditionally a script was the written dialogue of a stage play or a broadcast. It is the same concept. You write a set of instructions that run based on a trigger from the environment. The script you will write after sensing the environment trigger as time, will starting executing the set of instructions. Those instruction include building up the email subject or header, body and attaching to the report or a link to the report.

What is the difference between a human delegate and a digital delegate?

The human delegate has its own intelligence but the digital delegate needs your contribution to set up his reactions in a contingency situation. Suppose that the report is not ready by the trigger time; Then what will happen? The human delegate will wait till it is ready then send it. Or, he/she might try to expedite it. Or even more, he/she can send a note that the report will be ready after a couple hours or minutes. And many other possibilities that the human delegate will pick one of them based on his or your preference.

On the other hand, the digital delegate will send the email anyhow if you don’t set to it some preconditions. First of all the report need to be in the correct location whether on a local or a cloud storage. It need to have a certain name if that what the script will look for. If neither of this conditions is fulfilled, the script will generate an execution error. To avoid this you need to program it to do something else.

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For example, you can make a contingency action to look every 10min in the same location for the same file till it found it then send the email. As a precaution, you might program it to look for the date or name of the report. That’s to make sure it is sending the correct report. Moreover, you might program it to send a reminder email or note tot he one responsible for generating the report.

It might look hard to do. But actually cloud and web apps are making it easily now a days to reach this level of sophistication easily. On the other hand, the human delegate can do same mistakes. They can forget to send the email or send wrong attachments or even forget someone to send the report to.

How can you create this digital delegate for emailing a report?

There a lot of task automating software out there. However they need access to your resources. In other scenarios, you might find that the ERP or any similar resource planning software that is available in your work place already has these tools. Unfortunately, in many situations those options are not activated. Or they needs authorization level that is blocked by default from the system. One of the easy free tools is Google Web apps or cloud platform. By default if you are having a google email -gmail- , you have access to a bunch of free tools. Those tools already reside in your google account and are available for you to activate or use.

If your work place firewall allows you to reach to Google web apps, your work is already on the cloud. Then, you can share your files by giving view access to whomever you send the file to. Moreover, you can share some files for edit so you can collaborate on editing them simultaneously with your team. Moreover, the edits will marked by whom made it for tracking. Also Google provides a script writing and execution platform that is called Apps Script.

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Apps Script allows you to access your resources programmatically. So you can access the files stored on you google drive, edit them and send their links with the needed credentials to whomever you want. You can access and modify or collect data from your:

  • Spreadsheets called Google Sheets
  • Presentations called Google Slides
  • Test Documents called Google Docs
  • or Google Forms

Even it allows you to set time triggers with just a few clicks without writing script code. So, your function that will send the email can be triggered to run on a certain day at a certain time. Or every fixed time interval. This offloads you from coding a timer trigger that access your sources. Moreover all this runs on Google servers for free for the small or medium scale business so you don’t need to care about local and web deployment of your scripts and their access authorization to your resources. More to come about creative utilization of forms.

In Conclusion,

Delegation is a skill but to create your own digital delegate that’s not a communication or a interpersonal skill, that’s a digital skill.

If you feel you need help with any of these ideas we discussed, drop us a line for initial investigation in the form by Clicking here or request Management Consultancy or Coaching Services From our Store

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By Rezika

I intend to create a better-managed value adding working environment.
Projects and Maintenance Manager with broad experience in industrial plants. Managed Projects and applied different maintenance strategies and improvements tasks in different industrial plants: steel, cement, and food industries.

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