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Systems and Processes – Why is a bicycle ride like an IT System?

In a few weeks I head off to Gippsland for my third Great Victorian Bike ride. This mass cycling event organised by Bicycle Network Victoria has been running for 28 years.

Back in 2004 I rode from Port Fairy to Geelong via Camperdown, Lorne and Ocean Grove. The ride was enormously popular, with 8,500 participants, and it presented some significant logistical issues. On the first day the queues for breakfast snaked all the way around the local oval one and a half times! It wasn’t that easy having a shower either!

What really impressed me about the organisers was that by the second day they had brought in additional resources and they were able to process the queues much faster.

Another thing I will always remember from that trip is how important it is to take careful note of your tent’s location. It’s quite stressful trying to find your tent among several thousand others, in the dark, without a torch, with a storm approaching! Luckily, with a borrowed torch my orange tent stood out like a beacon from the other (mostly green) tents and I was safely inside about two minutes before the downpour.

After a break of several years I re-joined the circus and headed up to last year’s ride from Swan Hill to Castlemaine. Around 5,000 participants cycled through heat, wind and rain. The longest day was when we rode 114km in 40+ degree heat and strong winds from Barham to Echuca.

Reflecting upon the past two rides I found it interesting that overall, the systems in place for the rides were pretty much the same, but each year there are more tweaks and improvements to make the process more efficient and enjoyable. It’s much the same here at Fenwick Software. We’ve been delivering and maintaining IT solutions for 36 years and have developed systems and processes that work. And, like the bike ride organisers, we constantly tweak and improve them to make them better and more efficient.