Monthly Archives: January 2022

Narrowing the Focus

Long-time readers of my blog here will appreciate how, over the years, I’ve tried to cover a wide range of topics related to managing software development, collaborative knowledge work and technology businesses.

Since I’m Done, I’m now going to simply focus on Organisational Psychotherapy. It’s my muse and my joy, after all. 

And the one most helpful / valuable thing I’ve come up with in the past twenty years.

It’s a focus I can feel comfortable with, even as the demand for it remains dubious. 

As I’ve said before, give folks what they need, rather than what they want.

– Bob

The irony of my situation. is not lost on me (although I guess it’s lost on most everyone else).

My career has been driven for at least the past thirty years by my concern and compassion for those many millions of folks working in jobs where they have no chance to fulfil their innate potential. Not to mention the unemployed, who also have little to zero opportunity to exercise any of their innate potential.

And now I find myself in the same situation. Oh, the irony.

Naïve Realism: The conviction that one’s own views are objective and unbiased, whereas the other’s views are biased by ideology, self-interest, and irrationality. This conviction prevents serious consideration of the other’s supposedly biased views and leads to the formation and maintenance of a one-sided perspective. In turn, this perspective may deepen misunderstandings, disagreements, and antagonism between individuals and groups.

See also: Fundamental Attribution Error, Naïve Realism (Psychology), Naïve realism (Philosophy of Perception).

Further Reading

Nasie, M., Bar-Tal, D., Pliskin, R., Nahhas, E. & Halperin, E. (2014). Overcoming the Barrier of Narrative Adherence in Conflicts Through Awareness of the Psychological Bias of Naïve Realism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, [online] 40(11), pp.1543–1556. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2022].

Perceiving Is Believing

The only true voyage of discovery…would be not to visit strange lands, but to possess others’ eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is.

~ Marcel Proust

Further Reading

Nasie, M., Bar-Tal, D., Pliskin, R., Nahhas, E. & Halperin, E. (2014). Overcoming the Barrier of Narrative Adherence in Conflicts Through Awareness of the Psychological Bias of Naïve Realism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, [online] 40(11), pp.1543–1556. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2022].

I’m Done

Memeology, Quintessence

I’m done with inviting folks to discover better ways to run collaborative knowledge work businesses and other organisations. 

The Antimatter Principle

I’m done with inviting people to build more humane, engaging organisations.


I’m done with illustrating the gulf in performance and effectiveness between the average organisation or business, and the best. And how much productivity just goes begging.

The Marshall Model

I’m done with inviting people to understand the role of collective assumptions and beliefs in the effectiveness of their organisations.


I’m done with even mentioning effectiveness. No one seems to need it or want it or even to understand what it is and its role in organisational success.


I’m done with inviting organisations to consider the way people actually go about buying goods and service, and the role of emotions therein.

FlowChain, Prod•gnosis, Flow•gnosis

I’m done with providing food for thought on how the work in collaborative knowledge work organisations can work awesomely better.

Product Aikido

I’m done with inviting folks to look more deeply into the principles of product development and what makes for more effective product development.

The Giants

I’m done with mentioning the Giants such as Ackoff, Deming, Drucker, et al.


I’m done with software and helping people improve software development, reliability, quality, predictability, etc.. #NoSoftware’s the thing.

Recruiters and the Job Market

I’m done with know-nothing recruiters only focused on their next commission. And a totally broken job market focussed on mediocrity and the status quo. Oh, and CVs too. #NoCV.

The Closed-Minded

I’m done with people that are happiest sitting on their arses (metaphorically speaking) and keeping their eyes, ears, and minds closed to possibilities. Which is everybody, AFAICT.

The Unreliable

I’m done with people that promise to do things, and then, silently, do fuck all.


I’m done with Agile. Actually, as you’re probably aware, I’ve been done with Agile for a decade and more. I’m just adding it here for the sake of completeness. Oh, and I’m SO done with ignorant people who continue to promote the Agile busted flush.

I’m Done With Better Ways

I’m done with it all. Given there’s zero demand for “better”, better ways seem entirely irrelevant.

And good luck with that status quo. 

– Bob

Quintessential People

Right. First things first. There are no quintessential people. Excepting perhaps Gandhi MLK Jr., Mother Teresa and the like.

This post is about ordinary, normal people in quintessential systems (and, by extension, quintessential organisations). A remarkable aspect of quintessential organisations is their rejection of the concept of “talent” – as generally understood. In quintessential organisations, acknowledging Deming’s 95:5 [link], the performance and capabilities of individuals are recognised as a function of the system (the way the work works) within which they work (or, more correctly, play). 

Thus, in quintessential organisations, where the way the work works is an enabler, normal people can achieve extraordinary things on a regular basis.

From another perspective, the epithet “quintessential people” also applies to anyone that embraces the ideas of quintessential organisations, as described in e.g. my recent book “Quintessence” (Marshall, 2021).

– Bob

Further Reading

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Quintessence: An Acme for Software Development Organisations. Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). 

Rightshifting and Quintessence 

Long-time readers of this blog will already be familiar with the concept of rightshifting. 

Shifting an organisation to the right (i.e. in the direction of increased organisational effectiveness, and towards the quintessential) is not for the work-shy or indolent. Yet the rewards are massive. 

Whilst the Marshall Model provides a general framework for such rightshifting, there’s not been a detailed roadmap describing the shifts necessary to acquire such improved effectiveness. 

My most recent book, “Quintessence”, provides just such a roadmap (or blueprint). It details the shifts in collective assumptions and beliefs necessary to become a highly effective knowledge-work organisation. Shifts of which significant outliers such as Zappos, WL Gore, Morning Star, Semco, and a host of others have demonstrated the benefits.

Go take a look and gaze in awe at what is possible in the way of improvements. 

– Bob

Further Reading

Marshall, R.W. (2018). Hearts over Diamonds: Serving Business and Society Through Organisational Psychotherapy. Falling Blossoms (LeanPub).

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Memeology: Surfacing and Reflecting On the Organisation’s Collective Assumptions and Beliefs. Falling Blossoms (LeanPub).

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Quintessence: An Acme for Software Development Organisations. Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). 


It’s long been observed that folks commissioning i.e. product developments have a natural tendency to believe that quality costs money. Which is to say that they tend to believe that a higher quality product costs more to develop and deliver into the market. Even though Phil Crosby put the lie to this fallacy decades ago with his observation, detailed in his book of the same name, that “Quality is Free”.

So it is with effectiveness. I’ve met many folks who unwittingly assume that having their organisations become more effective is going to raise costs, and involve increased time, attention and effort.

Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Highly effective organisations run more smoothly, more predictably and with higher productivity and significantly lower costs. This is, for me, the essence of effectiveness.

How about you? What comes to mind when you hear the term “increased effectiveness”?

– Bob


Some folks tell me they find the titles of some of my blog posts a tad irksome, to say the least.

I can sympathise. I myself am often conflicted between penning titles that might garner reads (a.k.a. clickbait) vs risking irking some readers. I guess that’s the nature of (anti)social media as we now know it.

But there’s a reason I continue to risk irking some.

The Surprising Purpose of Anger

Therapists will remark that although such titles might trigger an emotional response – such as feeling irked, or worse – from readers, the trigger is separate from the response. And the response to triggers is completely within the control of the reader.

So, yes, my titles are sometimes calculated and designed to trigger readers. Given them the opportunity to introspect on their propensity for responding, the nature of their responding, and the needs they have that are not being met (cf. Rosenberg, 2005).

You might say irking some is a public service. 🙂

– Bob

Further Reading

Rosenberg, M.B. (2005). The Surprising Purpose of Anger: Beyond Anger Management: Finding the Gift: A Q&A with Marshall B. Rosenberg. Puddle Dancer Press.





How often do you approach an endeavour with some prior discipline or structure in mind?

Is it just for your coding endeavours, or do you take the same or similar disciplined approach to all your endeavours?

For the sake of clarity, we might consider Scrum, Kanban and Personal Kanban as examples of such “disciplined” or “structured” approaches. Personally, I’ve applied Javelin (nee Jerid) to all my endeavours, since circa 1994.

Note: You can find details of the Javelin approach described in an appendix to my recent book, “Quintessence“.

– Bob

There’s a zillion self-help books out there, but there’s also a zillion people not reading them and probably not much interesting in helping themselves, either.

So it is with organisations. There’s a zillion organisations out there, and I see no evidence of any of them much interested in helping themselves. Although, in the case of organisations, I know of only one book specifically aimed at enabling organisation to help themselves: Memeology.

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