Power Automate Development is Like Cooking

Before I dive into this blog, let me say that if you don’t consider yourself adept in the kitchen and prefer to order your meals to go, that’s quite all right. Most business owners don’t do their own development; they hire someone to do it. For a business owner, I would be the take-out of Power Automate development.

Power Automate DevelopmentAs a Power Automate developer, I have found similarities between developing process automation and cooking complex recipes. I have never attempted Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon. (Quick shout out to spell check for helping me spell “Bourguignon”.) I was going to make it once, but the recipe said it would take about 5 hours and I opted to stir fry my beef instead. I have made other complicated foods, such as chocolate croissants and peanut butter and banana Battenberg cake. There is so much work involved, so many steps. It was daunting and the croissants took me a few days. Roll-fold-chill, roll-fold-chill, roll-fold-chill, roll, cut, rise, bake…and all that is after you’ve made the dough from scratch.

Power Automate Development is a step-by-step process as well, only you are creating the recipe as you go. It can still take you several days to develop the automation, depending on how complicated the process is. In both cases, you should have a picture of what the finished product ought to be. Either it’s a Visio diagram of the entire process or a beauty shot of the most perfect chocolate croissants ever created by man. You start with these two images of perfection and then go to work creating that image.

Can you imagine how much harder Beef Bourguignon would be if you first had to butcher the meat? Cure the bacon? Press the olive oil? All that work to prep the ingredients before you even begin the 5-hour process of assembling them??? But you don’t have to! Someone already butchered the cow; you only need to cube it and sear it. Someone already cured the bacon; you just chop it and cook it. Then you put the ingredients together and let it simmer. When creating a flow in Power Automate, the ingredients are basically built for me in the form of actions, then all I do is assemble the actions and configure each one.

In generations past, we would have to cultivate and prepare every ingredient, but now that work is done for us. We live in an age of convenience! It only makes sense that our jobs come into the age of convenience as well. That’s what process automation does. It used to be that reports were manually generated, then emailed to everyone on the team creating multiple copies of a document. Now you can write a script that will generate the report and a flow that will push it out with a link to the document stored in a shared repository where everyone can view it and you have one source of truth. Repetitive, manual tasks are automated so that people don’t have to do them anymore. That saves payroll dollars.

Saving payroll dollars. Now how tasty is that?