Posted by: Adam Deane | 23/07/2010

Six Sigma and Sheep

Six Sigma and Sheep

Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves,
for they shall never cease to be amused

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust clouds towards him.
The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Bans and a YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?”
The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his flock and calmly answered “Sure”.

The yuppie parks his car, whipped out his notebook and connected it to a cell phone, the surfed to a NASA page on the net, where he called up a GPS navigation system, scanned the area, then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he printed up a 150-page report on his hi-tech miniature printer, turned to the shepherd and said, “You have exactly 1586 sheep.”

“That’s correct, take one of the sheep” said the shepherd.
He watched the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the shepherd says: “If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep?”
“Ok, why not” answered the young man.
“Clearly you are a Six Sigma Black Belt” said the shepherd.
“That’s correct, but how did you guess that” said the yuppie
“No guessing required,” answered the shepherd.
“You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don’t know crap about my business. Now give me back my dog.”

And thanks to Robert Thompson for the joke.


  1. Brilliant joke, which I will steal shamelessly. In Wellington yesterday, and Auckland the day before, I did a presentation on “Avoiding the Pitfalls – What You Need to Know About Business Processes.” One topic I covered was BPM professionals should be aware of the “anti-process” backlash caused by inappropriate application of Six STigma. I could have used the joke then!
    BTW, if you Google “Six Stigma” you might still find a few articles by earnest but ignorant writers referring to it as Six Stigma – good for a laugh.

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