By Michael Hedgpeth · July 14, 2014

We finally figured out a bedtime routine.

But the kids were late to school every day.

We figured out how to sit down every night for dinner.

But we were spending too much on groceries.

It’s a reality we all face: no matter what you do, some other problem comes up to wreck everything. And the same was true for my project that was dedicated to improving the quality of our software.

When we started, we focused mainly on making sure there was no problem with how an order was created, the receipt was printed, and the financials were calculated. We had prioritized this correctly; getting these three things right is critical to our success.

Once we had ramped up our solution, we saw a lot of problems that we were able to catch before shipping our latest releases to anyone. We saved ourselves and our customers a lot of headaches that our competitors and their customers were likely suffering through.

But over time, those problems decreased and the system seems to now have an immunity to these types of issues. It’s not a phenomenon I totally understand, but is one I’ve heard of from others in the industry.

Our newfound immunity also hadn’t made us immune to every problem. The problems we weren’t focused on were still there.

We hadn’t focused on how software is installed at the site and that the correct environment was set up. So the software could be rock solid, but if the environment is off, we’re in trouble. It will likely never end, but it’s a fun journey to iteratively create immunity through automation in the system.

My advice with problem-solving is create a system that makes you immune to having the problem again. So get a month ahead of income so you never overdraft. Or put all your bills on autopay, so you never miss one. Or every Friday take your spouse out for dinner. But don’t expect all problems to go away entirely. Keep working at it, and you’ll grow beyond where you imagined, solving problems you didn’t even think you were capable of taking on. It’s a wonderful journey.