The Roots of Rightshifting

The Roots of Rightshifting

When I coined the term “Rightshifting” circa 2005 I had already been studying and practicing software development management for at least fifteen years. In that span I had seen time and again dozens of organisations that had literally no clue as to how ineffective they were at the game.

Indeed, I came across zero organisations, both in person and in the literature, who realised how much time, effort, money and lives they were wasting through their ineffectiveness.

Circa 2005 I resolved to make it my business to help the industry, and the organisations in it, appreciate how much better things could be. In 2008 I began presenting “Perspectives on Rightshifting” at conferences and online, incorporating the asymmetric bell curve from Steve McConnell (McConnell . In 2010 I augmented that with the Marshall Model, explaining how collective assumptions and beliefs govern effectiveness.

Here we are at 2022 and the message has not landed. Most organisations are so insular, inward-looking and lacking in curiosity that their relative effectiveness never reaches the level of consciousness thought, let alone action.

Most organisations still have no clue as to how much time, effort, money and lives they are wasting through their ineffectiveness.

I see at least three root conditions that contribute to this continuing waste:

  • Software organisations generally have enough money that they can afford to waste circa 80% of it on ineffective practices.
  • The folks in charge are pursuing priorities other than effectiveness.
  • Almost no one in the industry has ever seen what “effective” looks like, let alone the benefits and how to get there.

Still, I continue carrying the flag for Rightshifting, even though the levels of interest have declined, rather that risen.

If you’re interested, I’m always happy to talk it over.

– Bob

Further Reading

Think Different. (2011). The Origins of the Marshall Model. [online] Available at:

McConnell, S. (1999). After the Gold Rush: Creating a True Profession of Software Engineering. Microsoft Press. (2013). The Business Case for Better Software Practices | Steve McConnell. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Jan. 2022].

McConnell, S. (2004). Professional Software Development: Shorter Schedules, Higher Quality Products, More Successful Projects, Enhanced Careers. Addison-Wesley.

  1. Always been a fan of your Rightshifting model. From my perspective, the interest in effectiveness seems to be increasing. How would you suggest talking about this?

    • Hi Martijn,

      We could Zoom or Google meet, piggyback on the Agile People Fika (assuming it runs in 2022), POTS, chat via LinkedIn or a Slack workspace… – many options. 🙂

      What might suit you?

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