Did you hear the one about the manager, technician and programmer...

A manager, technician and programmer were returning from a company retreat, when their brakes failed as they drove down a steep mountain road. The car skidded along the uphill side of the road and ground to a halt on the side of the cliff, leaving its passengers miraculously unharmed. But they were now stuck halfway down a mountain road with a car that had no brakes.

"There’s got to be a way out of this," the manager said. "I think we should put into practice what we learned at the retreat: Let’s propose a Vision, come up with a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and generate a Process of Continuous Improvement that will lead to a solution to our Critical Problems, and then we’ll be on our way."

The technician waved his words away as if they were smoke from a particularly offensive cigar. "That sort of thing wastes a lot of time and never accomplishes anything. I think I should take out my Swiss army knife and use it to get into the braking system, isolate the fault, and fix it. Then we can truly be on our way."

"Well," said the programmer, "before we do anything, I think we should push the car back up the hill and see if it happens again."

Last modified: August 13, 1996