From Zen and the Art

From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (pages 26-27):

I found the cause of the seizures a few weeks later, waiting to happen again. It was a little twenty-five-cent pin in the internal oil-delivery system that had been sheared and was preventing oil from reaching the head at high speeds.

The question why comes back again and again… Why did they butcher it so? These were not people running away from technology… These were the technologists themselves. They sat down to do a job and they performed it like chimpanzees. Nothing personal in it. There was no obvious reason for it…

… They were like spectators. You had the feeling they had just wandered in there themselves and somebody had handed them a wrench. There was no identification with the job. No saying, “I am a mechanic.” At 5 P.M. or whenever their eight hours were in, you knew they would cut it off and not have another thought about their work. They were already trying not to have any thoughts about their work on the job… they had something to do with it, but their own selves were outside of it, detached, removed. They were involved in it but not in such a way as to care.

Not only did these mechanics not find that sheared pin, but it was clearly a mechanic who had sheared it in the first place, by assembling the side cover plate improperly. I remember the previous owner had said a mechanic had told him the plate was hard to get on. This was why. The shop manual had warned about this, but like the others he was probably in too much of a hurry or he didn’t care…

Lots of this in the software business today, and it shows by how bad most software is.