Continuous improvement

This weekend, I finished the first obstacle course race in the professional Elite league.
Something I wouldn’t have even dreamed about one year ago.

But this story starts a few years earlier.

I had a backbone injury. I could barely walk, fighting with pain 24/7.
Fortunately, this wasn’t severe damage. This was my “tech debt.”

Years of stress,
impulsive gym trainings,
long hours in front of a computer,
risky sports without preps  🛹 🏂 🚵.

The situation was depressing for me.
The body didn’t heal like always, and there was no magic pill.
I talked to many specialists.
“Don’t worry. It doesn’t require surgery”.
“When in pain, take these pills, so it’ll go away for 12 hrs”.
“50% of people your age have some problems with back”.

I was fortunate to find a fantastic physiotherapist who spent two years sorting out my problems step by step with me. We went through basics - exercise by exercise, body posture, and core muscles.

Week by week, I could barely see the progress.
Many times I experienced regression.
But quarter by quarter, things got better.
The pain went down from 7/10 to 4/10 to 1/10.
After two years, my body was ready for a new challenge - OCR trainings.

Again, step by step - strength, technique, endurance. And these things don’t happen overnight too. Before the Elite run, I faced so many failures. I was weak, and inexperienced.

This reminds me of many projects I worked on.
Improving release cycles from 1/month to on-demand pushes.
Or improving quality from 98% to 99.99% crash-free.
I described one of these stories in a series of posts:

The evolution of apps Quality Assurance at Azimo
Our journey, goals, and motivations

None of these things happen as an abrupt change.
They are a result of long-term investment.
Steady and continuous improvements.
Well planned, and patiently executed.

There are many conclusions for it, so I’ll only share one.
Your investments and debts stack up.
You won’t see the results tomorrow or the week after.
But who you will be in a year from now, depends on what you do today.
A year from now, your systems will reflect the decisions you make today.

There is even scientific theory behind it.
Check Wikipedia for Dynamical systems or a Butterfly effect.

Dynamical system - Wikipedia
My first OCR run in Elite league