How to sell logistical procedures that require less time to perform but more finesse?

Posted by foampile on Programmers See other posts from Programmers or by foampile
Published on 2012-11-29T19:23:27Z Indexed on 2012/11/29 23:18 UTC
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I am working with a group where part of the responsibilities is managing a certain set of configuration files which, of course, have the same skeleton/structure across different environments but different values (like server, user, this setting, that setting etc.). Pretty classic scenario...

The problem is that everyone just goes and modifies final, environment-specific files and basically repeats the work for every environment. Personally, I am offended to have to peform repeatable, mundane tasks in this day and age when we have technologies to automate it all.

So I devised a very simple procedure of abstracting the files into templates, stubbing env-specific values with parameters and then wrote a simple Perl script that, given a template and an environment matrix with env-specific values for each param, produces the final file. So this is nothing special, cutting-edge or revolutionary -- I am pretty sure that 20 years ago efficient places did their CM like that.

However, that requires that changes are made at the template level and then distributed across different environments using the script and not making changes in the final environment-specific files. This is where I am encountering resentment as they feel "comfortable" doing it their old, manual, repeated labor way. Personally, I don't have a problem with them working hard rather than smart but the problem is when I have to build on top of someone else's changes, I have to merge their changes into my template from a specific file, which takes time and is grueling.

So my question is how to go about selling my method, which makes it so much faster in an environment that is resentful to change and where most things have to be done at the level of the least competent team member?

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