Capability development

What is Hitozukuri and Why is it “Working on the 5%”?

W. Edwards Deming strongly emphasised the importance of the system – the way the work works – in determining the performance of individuals. According to Deming, 95% of an individual’s performance is dictated by the system they are working in, not their personal abilities. This statistic demonstrates Deming’s belief in the profound impact of the environment or system on individual and organisational outcomes.

This belief intersects strongly with both the philosophy of Hitozukuri and systems thinking. Hitozukuri is about nurturing employees, and Deming’s principles make it clear that a key part of nurturing employees is providing them with a supportive, well-structured system in which to work.

By understanding and improving the system, an organisation will greatly enhance the effectiveness of its Hitozukuri practices.

Systems thinking adds another layer to this perspective, emphasising the interconnections among various elements within the organisation, including people. Every part of the organisation, from the people to the way the work works, contributes to the overall result. So, improving the system means enhancing all its components and the relationships among them.

From this perspective, Hitozukuri can be seen as part of a broader, interconnected system within an organisation. It includes various processes such as recruitment, training, job design, performance management, and more. When these processes are well designed and coordinated, they create a system that effectively nurtures employees, thus enhancing their performance.

In such a system, well-developed employees lead to better products/services, which lead to higher customer satisfaction, which in turn brings business success and the resources to further invest in employee development.

However, it’s crucial to recognise that, as per Deming’s principles, the primary driver of this cycle is not the individual abilities of the employees, but the quality of the system in which they work.

Thus, organisations might choose to focus not only on developing individuals (as in Hitozukuri) but also on continually improving the system that dictates 95% of their performance. By doing so, they can create a virtuous cycle of human resource development and organisational success.

Further Reading

Ballé, M., Powell, D., & Yokozawa, K. (2019, January 8). Monozukuri, Hitozukuri, Kotozukuri. Planet Lean.

How To Support Teams’ Learning And Development Needs

Organisations can fundamentally support their teams’ learning and development needs by cultivating an environment that fosters intrinsic motivation. But how to achieve that?

One approach is the adoption of the Toyota Kata model. The term ‘Kata’, borrowed from martial arts, refers to a structured routine practiced so it becomes second nature. Toyota applies this concept in the realm of continuous improvement and coaching.

To put it simply, Toyota Kata isn’t about providing answers, but about establishing an organisational culture that motivates individuals to discover solutions themselves. This inherently appeals to intrinsic motivation, as employees are driven by the satisfaction of mastering challenges, the thrill of problem-solving, and the joy of personal development. They’re not learning and developing because they’re told to, they’re doing it because they want to.

Organisations utilising the Toyota Kata model promote a learning mindset where curiosity, creativity and resilience are valued. They foster an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes, as they’re considered part of the learning process. This can reduce or eliminate the fear of failure, which significantly hinders innovation and risk-taking.

Further, the Kata routines can ensure teams have a clear focus and direction. Through the Improvement Kata, employees are guided to understand the direction, grasp the current condition, establish the next target condition, and experiment towards that target. When people know where they’re headed and why, it encourages them to take ownership of their roles and fosters intrinsic motivation.

Moreover, the Coaching Kata supports managers in developing their subordinates by not simply providing solutions, but by asking insightful questions that encourage critical thinking. This way, managers become facilitators for growth rather than just taskmasters. This coaching approach can instill a sense of competence and autonomy, which are key components of intrinsic motivation.

Toyota Kata isn’t about achieving perfection, but about continuous learning and improvement. By acknowledging this journey and celebrating the learning process, organisations can make their teams feel valued and motivated to continue their development.

So, an organisation’s support for its teams’ learning and development needs goes way beyond merely offering training programmes or growth opportunities. It’s about creating a culture of continuous improvement and learning, fostering intrinsic motivation, and supporting this with models like Toyota Kata. When organisations achieve this, they’ll likely see not only improvements in their team’s skills and capabilities, but also enhanced engagement, productivity, and innovation.

Testing the Approach, Not Just the Product

Are you, as testers, merely policing the final product? Dive deeper into the fascinating, often overlooked realm of testing the software development approach itself. Imagine the possibilities of unearthing hidden bugs not just in the code, but in the entire system of creation itself. Intrigued? Let’s get this conversation started.

Hey testers. You’ve got buckets of expertise in sussing out bugs and finding things that don’t quite work as expected, right? But tell me, how often do you turn those remarkable skills to testing your organisation’s approach to software development itself?

Don’t you reckon that’s equally critical, if not more so, than testing the end product? After all, a well-oiled software development approach might just make your bug-hunting tasks lighter, eh?

Are you taking the time to inspect whether Agile methodologies truly speed up the delivery process for your teams? Or is it that Waterfall’s clarity of scope suits your projects better? Can you confidently say that your approach to software development is truly fail-safe, or are there hidden gremlins waiting to gum up the works?

In those huddles, have you ever discussed how Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) is really influencing your development effectiveness? What about DevOps? Are you certain it’s helping bridge gaps between teams, or might it be widening them instead?

How often do you question the chosen development tools? Are they making your job easier, or do they sometimes seem like a square peg in a round hole? And what about the balance between manual testing, automated testing and QA? Have you thoroughly tested the effectiveness of that mix?

Now, let’s not forget the people aspect. Is the team structure working like a charm or does it sometimes feel like everyone’s marching to a different drum? Are folks getting their voices heard, their ideas tested?

Do see where I’m getting at? Software development isn’t just about creating quality products; it’s also about refining and testing the methods that get you there. And you, dear testers, are perfectly poised to lead that charge. So, what do you say?

Retrospectives In Context

The goal of retrospectives (an Agile ceremony) is *improvement*. If no one on the team needs to improve the way their work works, then their retrospectives are BOUND to be totally lame (and a pointless waste of everyone’s time).

I’ve never seen a team with the motivation / need to improve (out of hundreds of teams). Hence, I’ve never seen a retrospective provide any value.

Maybe one day…


Effective Software Development

Everyone in the software industry (managers excepted) knows the following is true, yet nobody wants to talk about it:

Effective software development is entirely incompatible with typical (hierarchical, command-and-control) management.

After 50 years in the industry, I’d go so far as to say:

Effective software development is entirely incompatible with ANY known form of management.


Place managers in charge of software development and it can NEVER be ANYTHING but ineffective (high costs, low quality, poor due date performance, lack of innovation, etc.).

NB Applies more broadly, beyond the domain of software development, too.


The reasons for this incompatibility can be explained as follows:

1. Creativity and innovation: Software development is a highly creative and innovative process that often requires developers to think out of the box, experiment, and come up with novel solutions. A hierarchical management structure stifles creativity and inhibits the free flow of ideas, emphasising, as it does, strict adherence to rules and policies.

2. Responsiveness and flexibility: In the rapidly changing world of technology, software development teams need to be responsive and adaptable in order to respond quickly to changes in requirements, market conditions, approaches, and user feedback. A command-and-control management style, which relies on rigid plans and mandated approaches, tools, makes it difficult to impossible for teams to pivot and adapt as needed.

3. Collaboration and communication: Effective software development relies on close collaboration and communication among team members with diverse skills and expertise. Hierarchical management structures create barriers to communication, with information flowing primarily up and down the chain of command, rather than freely among team members.

4. Autonomy and motivation: Software developers tend to be highly skilled, motivated individuals who thrive on autonomy and the ability to make decisions about their work. Command-and-control management undermines their motivation by imposing external control and limiting their decision-making authority.

The broader point being made in the corollary statement is that traditional hierarchical management is never the best fit for software development, and that organisations might choose to consider alternative organisational styles and structures that are more conducive to the unique demands of software development.

This idea can indeed apply beyond the domain of software development, as many industries are increasingly recognising the need for more responsive, collaborative, and flexible management approaches to drive innovation and adapt to rapidly changing environments.

The Power of Theory

In the context of philosophy and social sciences, “praxis” refers to the practical application of ideas or theories in the real world, with the ultimate goal of creating meaningful change or improvement. Theory plays a crucial role in praxis, as it provides the foundational understanding, concepts, and frameworks that inform action.

Here are five ways theory contributes to praxis:

  1. Guiding principles: Theories provide guiding principles that help individuals and organisations make informed decisions, plan strategies, and establish goals. They offer a basis for understanding the world and the relationships between various factors, making it easier to navigate complex situations.
  2. Analytical tools: Theories offer analytical tools that allow practitioners to examine problems, identify patterns, and develop solutions. These tools can help uncover the root causes of issues and suggest effective interventions.
  3. Evaluation: Theories can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of actions and interventions, helping practitioners refine their approaches and adjust strategies as needed. This feedback loop is essential for continuous improvement.
  4. Communication: Theoretical frameworks provide a common language and shared understanding for practitioners, enabling them to communicate their ideas, goals, and strategies effectively. This shared understanding is essential for collaboration and collective action.
  5. Inspiration and innovation: Theories can inspire new ideas and creative solutions by challenging existing assumptions and encouraging practitioners to think critically and reflect on their practices. This process can lead to innovation and transformative change.

In summary, theory plays a vital role in praxis by providing a foundation for understanding, guiding decision-making, offering analytical tools, enabling evaluation, fostering communication, and inspiring innovation. Praxis is where theory meets real-world action, and the interplay between the two is essential for driving meaningful change.

Mastering the Art of Self-Organisation with a Modicum of Expert Support

💡 Imagine a world where your team conquers every challenge, seamlessly navigating the ever-changing landscape of business and software development. It’s possible, you know – but only if we strike the perfect balance between self-organisation and expert support. Let’s dive into how you can help your team unlock its full potential while overcoming the inherent limitations of self-organisation.

➡ Self-organisation – it’s a buzzword we’ve all heard thrown around in the world of business and software development teams. While it’s a fantastic concept, it’s important to recognise that it does have its limits. Let’s have a little chat about what those limitations might be, shall we?

Now, don’t get me wrong – self-organisation can sometimes work wonders. It can boost team morale, encourage innovation, and even improve productivity. But let’s face it, most teams aren’t full of experts in every single area. That’s just not realistic. No matter how talented and skilled team members are, they simply can’t be expected to be proficient in everything.

So, what happens when your team hits a roadblock or encounters a complex issue they’ve never dealt with before? Well, that’s where the limitations of self-organisation come into play. Without the proper knowledge or expertise, the team might struggle to make acceptable decisions, especially for longer-term scenarios.

That’s why it’s crucial to have some support in place to mitigate these limitations. By providing on-call experts from whom the team can “pull” knowledge and expertise as they see fit, they can bridge their knowledge gaps and effectively tackle even the most challenging problems. With the right support, self-organisation doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach – it can be a flexible process that adapts to the team’s needs and capabilities. Assuming the fundamental reflex – knowing WHEN to pull – is in place.

In conclusion, self-organisation has its merits, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, and on-call expert support can make all the difference.

Another String to My Bow

Hi there, wonderful readers! 🌟

I hope this message finds you all in good spirits! I’m absolutely delighted to share some hot news with you – I’m now officially into ChatGPT-4 prompt engineering! 🎉

You might be curious, “What’s captures your interest in this field?” Well, let me share with you that I find it fascinating! Working with cutting-edge AI technology like GPT-4 is nothing short of amazing. We’ve come such a long way with AI, and now these powerful tools are available to us all.

What Is Prompt Engineering?

Prompt Engineering, sometimes also called AI Whispering,  involves crafting the perfect questions or statements to extract the most relevant, accurate, and engaging responses from the AI. And who wouldn’t relish a bit of a challenge in their daily work, right? 😉

One of the reasons I’m drawn to this field is that I get to use my facility with the English language, and my love of it, while still applying logic and smarts. It’s a delightful marriage of art and science. Imagine solving a complex puzzle that requires an understanding of the intricacies of human communication and language, as well as the workings of the AI. What a fantastic combination!

So, here I am, embarked on this new adventure! I’m genuinely excited to exchange ideas and learn from all the brilliant people in this field. If you’re in the same boat or have any advice to share, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – I’d be chuffed to connect! 🌍

Wishing you all the best in your own endeavours, and let’s keep making progress together! 💪🚀

Some Reasons Why You Might Choose To Pay Attention To My Works

Hey there! I’m Bob Marshall, the Organisational Psychotherapist, with a passion for helping organisations transform their culture and improve collaboration. If you’re wondering why you might choose to pay attention to my insights, just let me say that my unique approach can bring profound benefits to all kinds of organisations, especially those involving collaborative knowledge work.

My blog at is packed with insights and stories from my five decades of experience. I draw on this experience, including founding Europe’s first 100% Agile software house and heading Falling Blossoms, the world’s first Organisational Psychotherapy provider. My posts highlight the importance of nurturing productive relationships and fostering a people-oriented culture.

One post that stands out is about the Antimatter Principle, which emphasises attending to folks’ needs to create a thriving, collaborative work environment.

Another post discusses Flow•gnosis, an innovative approach to developing software-intensive products and services.

When you read my posts, you’ll also learn from my decades in both technology and business, including roles at Sun Microsystems, and many other organisations, large and small. This deep understanding of the tech landscape allows me to provide invaluable counsel and therapy to ambitious, progressive technology and digital business organisations.

Moreover, those who have worked with me have nothing but praise for my approach and the results it has brought to their organisations. Time and again, I’ve helped clients create a more humane, people-oriented, and productive work environment that has led to outstanding success.

As the author of “Hearts over Diamonds”, “Memeology”, and “Quintessence”, and the originator of Rightshifting and the Marshall Model, my posts regularly and freely share the foundational knowledge that has contribute to the success of so many of my clients. So, if you want to see a real difference in your organisation, don’t miss out on the wisdom and insights shared on my blog, books, white papers, etc.

Join me on this transformative journey towards elevating your organisation’s performance, and also creating a meaningful, fulfilling work environment that nurtures innovation, everyone’s personal growth, and long-lasting success. Get down with the opportunity to be part of a paradigm shift that’s redefining the way businesses thrive!


Don’t miss out on the latest insights and strategies for transforming your organisation and its culture! If you find this post valuable, make sure to follow me on LinkedIn, and don’t forget to ring the bell 🔔 to receive notifications whenever I share new content. Ready to unlock your organisation’s full potential? Take action now and reach out for a chat, or visit my blog more transformative ideas. Together, let’s embark on this journey towards unprecedented success! 🔔

The Talent Mirage: How Systems Shape Our Success

Learn to see the world where our success isn’t dictated by innate talent, but by the powerful, often invisible forces around us. Discover how systems and culture play a crucial role in shaping our abilities and why the whole idea of talent is but a captivating illusion.

Let’s talk about the idea of talent and how it’s actually a total illusion. We often attribute a person’s ability, productivity, and success to their innate talent. But, in reality, around 95% of an individual’s accomplishments can be linked to the system in which they operate. Crazy, right?

Think about it this way: the way work works, the environment we’re in, and the support we receive all have a significant impact on an individual’s performance. The right context, resources, and opportunities can make all the difference in unlocking someone’s potential. So, when we see someone excelling, it’s not their raw talent at play, but the entire ecosystem around them. and especially the culture, that’s driving their contribution.

We may choose to recognise that the system plays a massive role in shaping folks’ abilities and contributions. When we do that, we can focus on creating more equitable systems that enable everyone, not just the “talented” few. After all, we’re all missing out on some incredible potential simply because we’re not nurturing it properly!


The Certainty of Certifications: Why They’re Much More Harmful Than Helpful

Certifications can be seen as a quick fix for professional success. They offer a way for experts to show off their skills and knowledge in a particular area. However, the dark side of certifications is that they are often surface-level and bear no relation to an individual’s capabilities.

One of the most outrageous examples of this is with Agile and Scrum certifications. Many courses will certify you after just a few days of training, which is simply not enough time to truly grasp the intricacies of these methodologies. Scrum, in particular, demands a deep comprehension of team dynamics, communication, and the capability to adapt to change. These abilities can’t be acquired in a two-day course or even in two weeks, two months, or two years.

The problem is exacerbated by the patent naivety of busy managers who believe that certification is equivalent to competence. They see a certificate on a CV and assume that the individual has a profound understanding of the subject matter. This assumption is utterly false and can lead to expensive mistakes and project failures.

The complete inadequacy of classroom learning is also a significant issue. While there is value in conventional learning, it’s entirely insufficient to prepare individuals for the difficulties of the real world. Classroom learning typically focuses on theory, while real-world circumstances are way more complex and require a more profound understanding of the subject matter, especially in matters like organisational culture and interpersonal relationships.

In conclusion, certifications are essentially worthless at best and deeply harmful at worst. They create a false sense of security and don’t genuinely measure an individual’s abilities. It’s crucial to remember that certifications are in no way a substitute for experience and extensive knowledge.

Unleashing the Power of Culture: Navigating the Four Distinct Cultures of Business

Rightshifting & The Marshall Model.017

The Marshall Model of Organisational Evolution provides a framework for understanding the four distinctly different cultures of business and how they impact the overall effectiveness of an organisation.

According to the model, there are four basic mindsets or cultures that exist in organisations: Ad-hoc, Analytic, Synergistic, and Chaordic. Each of these cultures is defined by specific characteristics and beliefs – beliefs that shape the way work is done and the results that are achieved.

Ad-hoc organisations are defined by a lack of attention to the process of work. There is little recognition of the importance of defining how work should be done and little effort is made to improve work processes over time. The focus is almost entirely on getting the work done, regardless of the process.

Analytic organisations, on the other hand, have a command-and-control style of management and a focus on costs and efficiencies. Middle-managers that characterise this culture are seen as the owners of the way the work works, responsible for allocating work and reporting on progress.

Synergistic organisations embody the principles of the Lean movement and have a focus on shared purpose, learning, flow of value, and effectiveness. This culture typically has a Theory-Y orientation and values people over processes.

The final culture, Chaordic, represents a shift from a focus on shared purpose to a focus on embracing and exploiting supreme performance only possible on the border between order and chaos. This culture is characterised by an emphasis on “positive opportunism” – being ready to identify and exploit every new opportunity the moment it emerges.

In conclusion, the Marshall Model provides a valuable tool for understanding the different cultures of businesses and how they impact the overall effectiveness of an organisation. Organisations can continually improve their effectiveness by recognising where they are in the model and choosing appropriate strategies to move forward (Rightshift). By embracing a culture that values people and shared purpose, and focuses on awareness, learning and innovation, organisations can perform way beyond expectations and industry norms.

Organisational Psychotherapy – Be a Part of the Next Big Thing in Business!

Organisational psychotherapy is an exciting and fast-growing field that offers a unique approach to helping organisations remove the cultural blockers that create toxicity and limit their performance. It is an opportunity to be part of the next big thing in business and to help organisations become much more fulfilling places to work.

Organisational psychotherapy uses a talk therapy approach to explore the culture of an organisation and the social dynamics that exist within it. This approach helps uncover the unconscious assumptions, beliefs and attitudes that hinder growth and productivity. It then supports organisations in challenging and transforming these cultural barriers, which can have a profound impact on the organisation’s performance and the experiences of the folks working there.

As a trained organisational psychotherapist, you will have the skills and knowledge to help organisations understand their psychological Needsscape, and to identify and remove any cultural blockers that are holding them back. You will work with senior management, teams and departments within the organisation, to help them understand the impact their assumptions and beliefs are having on the wider organisation and to encourage more fulfilling ways of working.

In addition to helping organisations perform better, being an organisational psychotherapist also offers a fulfilling and meaningful career. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives and to help workplace communities grow and succeed.

So, if you’re passionate about people and have a desire to help organisations realise the benefits of a more humane approach, join the ranks of organisational psychotherapists today. Get in on the ground floor of this exciting and dynamic field, and help organisations overcome the cultural barriers that are limiting their performance.

I’ll be delighted to provide practical pro bono help and support to anyone wishing to pursue this exciting new career path, or to add to their existing set of skills.

Growing the Bottom Line: Building Capability

It’s a common misconception in the business world that companies should focus solely on building and selling products. While this may lead to short-term success, it can limit a company’s growth and long-term potential. In reality, the true source of value for a company is its people and their ability to build and grow the company as a whole.

Building a company’s capability, or its capacity for success, is a crucial aspect of business that is often overlooked. This refers to a company’s ability to effectively manage its resources, adapt to change, and execute its plans. When a company invests in its capability, it’s investing in the future of the business and its long-term success.

For example, a company that focuses on building its capability may invest in giving people time an space to think, in research and development, and in reflecting on its collective assumptions and beliefs which account for the way things are done. By doing so, the company is not only building its ability to succeed in the present, but it is also preparing for the future. As the business grows and changes, a company with a strong capability will be able to adapt and continue to grow.

In contrast, a company that focuses solely on product development may find itself in a precarious position. If the product becomes outdated or is no longer in demand, the company may struggle to adapt and may eventually falter. On the other hand, a company that has built its capability will be able to pivot and adjust to the changing market, even if its original product is no longer successful.

Investing in capability also pays off in terms of attracting and retaining capable people. Companies that offer opportunities for personal growth and development are more likely to retain their people and see increased morale and engagement This leads to a stronger and more stable workforce, which can drive a company’s success.

In conclusion, while building products is certainly important, it is not the only, or even the most important, aspect of a company’s success. Building a company’s capability is critical for long-term success and growth. Companies that focus on building their capability will find that the payback of this investment is substantial, in terms of future success, employee retention, and overall growth. So, while it may seem funny that companies want their people to build products, the real value lies in building the company’s capability.

Scenario Planning: The Key to Anticipating and Preparing for Business Surprises

Scenario planning is a strategic planning method that helps organisations anticipate and prepare for a range of possible futures. It involves creating a set of plausible scenarios, or stories, that describe different possible outcomes, and then using these scenarios to identify potential risks and opportunities. This approach allows organisations to be proactive in addressing potential challenges and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Adam Kahane, a consultant and author, is credited with popularising the use of scenario planning in the business world. He has worked with organisations such as Royal Dutch Shell and the World Bank to help them use scenario planning to better anticipate and respond to changes in the global economy, political landscape, and other factors that can impact their operations.

Arie de Geus, a former Shell executive, also played a key role in the development of scenario planning at Royal Dutch Shell. He is credited with creating the company’s “planning for uncertainty” approach, which uses scenario planning to help the company prepare for a wide range of potential futures. This approach has been credited with helping the company navigate a number of major disruptions, including the oil price shocks of the 1970s and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
One of the key benefits of scenario planning is that it helps organisations to minimise business surprises. By anticipating and preparing for a wide range of potential futures, organisations can be more resilient and responsive to changes in their environment. This can help them to avoid costly mistakes and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Scenario planning also helps organisations to be more strategic in their decision-making. By identifying potential risks and opportunities, organisations can make more informed decisions about how to allocate resources and how to position themselves for future success.

In addition, scenario planning can also help organisations to be more adaptive and flexible. By regularly reviewing and updating their scenarios, organisations can be more ready for changes in their environment and can more easily adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Overall, scenario planning is a powerful tool that can help organisations to be more resilient, strategic, and adaptive in the face of uncertainty. By anticipating and preparing for a wide range of potential futures, organisations can minimise business surprises and position themselves for success.


I’ve lost count of the number of folks I’ve encountered that see planning as sacrosanct, as gospel. I’ve also lost count of the number of occasions I’ve attempted to broach the subject with offers of e.g. dialogue and mutual exploration, only to be stonewalled.

In support of #NoPlanning, I offer the follow Ackoff quote:

“If you have the capacity for response to the unexpected, then you don’t have to plan for it. The important thing to do then is to continuously increase the capacity to respond to whatever occurs in the future.”

~ Russell Ackoff

I posit that #NoPlanning is the epitome of business agility.

Would you be willing to talk about it?

– Bob

Highlight Problems, Avoid Solutions

It’s wayyy easier to provide solutions than to help folks find their own solutions. What are the consequences of this observation?

  • For consultants, trainers, pseudo-coaches and others whose income depends on selling “solutions”?
  • For folks seeking long-term, permanent solutions to their problems?
  • For folks who choose to hire consultants or other experts to solve their problems for them?
  • For folks habituated to delegating the finding of solutions to their problems to others?

Voltaire asks us a rhetorical question:

“Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”

~ Voltaire

I’ll not be offering any solutions to this conundrum. I am available help you along the path of finding your own.Do get in touch!

#IANAC (I am not a consultant).

– Bob

Further Reading

Rother, M. (2010). Toyota Kata: Managing People For Continuous Improvement And Superior Results. Mcgraw-Hill.
Marshall, R.W. (2021). Memeology: Surfacing And Reflecting On The Organisation’s Collective Assumptions And Beliefs. [online] Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun 2022].

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3

Reasons to be cheerful, Pt. 3

Some of you dear readers may, entirely reasonably, assume that I mention my books in the hope of increasing sales. However, this just ain’t so.

I mention my books in a vainglorious attempt to effect some positive shift in the world of business. I’ve written many times about my motivation. Specifically, my delight in helping people have a more joyful time in the world of work (in particular, Collaborative Knowledge Work).

I truly believe that Organisational Psychotherapy is a path to saner, more joyful, more humane workplaces. And my book “Quintessence” illustrates and maps out what a saner, more joyful organisation looks like and works like, in detail.

Maybe you share my enthusiasm for change, and for seeing things improve. Maybe you’re content with – or at least resigned to – the status quo.

In any case, I’d hate for my enthusiasm to be a source of frustration or angst for you.

On the other hand, I’d be delighted if through reading one or more of my books – or even blog posts or white papers – you might find a different perspective on what ails you, and new, more effective ways to meet folks’ needs, including your own.

– Bob


Further Reading

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Quintessence: An Acme for Software Development Organisations. [online] Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun 2022].
Marshall, R.W. (2021). Memeology: Surfacing And Reflecting On The Organisation’s Collective Assumptions And Beliefs. [online] Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun 2022].
Marshall, R.W. (2018). Hearts over Diamonds: Serving Business and Society Through Organisational Psychotherapy. [online] leanpub.comFalling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun 2022].
Marshall, R.W. (2021). Organisational Psychotherapy Bundle 1. [online] Leanpub. Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun. 2022]. (n.d.). Ian Dury and The Blockheads – Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt. 3 (Official Lyrics Video). [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jun. 2022].

The Future Of Software Delivery

Are you curious about how software will get written and delivered in the future? When all the Agile malarkey has faded away?

About your career and what skills and abilities will be in demand in a few years’ time?

Take a look at my book “Quintessence“ for a detailed road map of what the future of software delivery looks like.

My book “Memeology” describes in detail how organisations can make this future theirs, starting today.

And “Hearts Over DIamonds” sets out the foundations for Organisational Psychotherapy – the core principles for our Quintessential future.

Or read the whole series, and get a deep understanding of the role of Organisational Psychotherapy in businesses of the future.

– Bob

Further Reading

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Quintessence: An Acme for Software Development Organisations. [online] Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 12 Jun 2022].
Marshall, R.W. (2021). Memeology: Surfacing And Reflecting On The Organisation’s Collective Assumptions And Beliefs. [online] Falling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 12 Jun 2022].
Marshall, R.W. (2018). Hearts over Diamonds: Serving Business and Society Through Organisational Psychotherapy. [online] leanpub.comFalling Blossoms (LeanPub). Available at: [Accessed 12 Jun 2022].

A Conducive System

[Tl;Dr: What are the system conditions that encourage ethical – and productive, effective – behaviours (Cf William Kingdon Clifford) in software delivery organisations?]

In yesterday’s blog post “The System Is Unethical” I related my experiences of how businesses – and the folks that run them and work in them – remain ignorant of just how ineffective they are at software delivery. And the consequences of that ignorance on e.g. costs, quality, customer satisfaction, etc

To recap: an unethical system perpetuates behaviours such as:

  • Failing to dig into the effectiveness of the organisation’s software delivery capabilities.
  • Indifference to the waste involved (wasted time, money, opportunities, human potential,…).
  • Ignorance of just how much more effective things could be, with e.g. a change in perspective.
  • Bravado and denial when questioned about such matters.

The Flip Side

Instead of the behaviours listed above, we might seek a system that encourages behaviours that include:

  • Continual attention to the effectiveness of the organisation’s software delivery capabilities.
  • Concern over the waste involved, and actions to reduce such waste.
  • Investigation into just how much more effective things could be.
  • Clarity and informed responses when questions about such matters.

Conducive System Conditions

So what might a system conducive to such behaviours look like?

That’s what my book “Quintessence” illustrates in detail. But in case you’re a busy person trapped in a non-conducive system, I’ve previously written about some of the key aspects of a conducive system, here:

Quintessence For Busy People

BTW I’m always happy to respond to your questions.

– Bob





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