Problem Solving

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 suddently the brakes on their car failed. The car careened out of control, bouncing off guardrails until it miraculously ground to a scraping halt along the mountainside. The occupants of the car were unhurt, but they had a problem. They were stuck halfway down the mountain in a car with no brakes. What could they do?

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

"No," said the hardware engineer. "I've got my Swiss army knife with me. I can strip down the car's braking system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we'll be on our way."

"Wait," said the software engineer. "Before we do anything, shouldn't we push the car back to the top of the mountain and see if it happens again?"


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