Mark Q. Maxham (
Wed, 22 Feb 1995 10:18:31 -0800

[Sorry if you've seen this before]

A Software Engineer, a Hardware Engineer and a Departmental Manager were on
their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving down a steep
mountain road when suddenly the brakes on their car failed. The car careered
almost out of control down the road, bouncing off the crash barriers, until
it miraculously ground to a halt scraping along the mountainside. The car's
occupants, shaken but unhurt, now had a problem: they were stuck halfway
down a mountain in a car with no brakes. What were they to do?

"I know", said the Departmental Manager, "Let's have a meeting, propose
a Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and by a process
of Continuous Improvement find a solution to the Critical Problems, and we
can be on our way."

"No, no", said the Hardware Engineer, "That will take far too long, and
besides, that method has never worked before. I've got my Swiss Army knife
with me, and in no time at all I can strip down the car's braking
system,isolate the fault, fix it, and we can be on our way."

"Well", said the Software Engineer, "Before we do anything, I think we should
push the car back up the road and see if it happens again."