The Rightshifting Curve
They say a picture is worth a thousand words:
Here we see the basic population-distribution of (knowledge-work) organisations (blue curve) with relative effectiveness plotted on the horizontal axis, and percentage plotted on the vertical axis. Also appearing here are the consequent productivity (green line) and waste (red line) curves.
In a nutshell, the blue curve shows that the vast majority of organisations (peak of the curve) are highlyineffective, compared to their relatively very few highly-effective cousins (right-hand end of the blue curve).
The red and green lines show the consequences of this ineffectiveness – for example, that median organisations spend around eighty percent of their resources (time, people, effort, money) on non-value-adding activities (red line: waste). That’s four days out of every working week wasted, across the whole organisation!
“Rightshifting” is a word I’ve invented, with the meaning
“Improving the effectiveness of knowledge-work businesses.”
Why invent a new word?
Because I could find no existing word or short phrase with this meaning.
The nearest phrase, “process improvement” fails on at least four counts:
- It contains the word “process” which, more and more, is falling into disrepute (folks just don’t like the implications of compliance, domination and control).
- There are many paths to improving the effectiveness of knowledge-work businesses, a processfocus only being one (and not one of the better ones).
- It does not speak to context – knowledge-work businesses – where the path to improvement is very different from the path for e.g. manufacturing, construction or service businesses.
- It does not emphasise “effectiveness” – a crucial aspect in a world where most folks believe efficiency is King and have little or no awareness of the difference between the two concepts.
Note: By “knowledge-work” organisations, I mean any kind of organisation in which the creation, manipulation and dissemination of knowledge is a core competency. Software development organisations are a prime example of this kind of organisation.