Mark Schwartz’s A Seat At The Table will be one of the most important books on technology and business leadership of our generation.”
—Gene Kim, co-author of The DevOps Handbook and The Phoenix Project
Fresh thinking and useful advice fill the pages of Mark Schwartz’s A Seat at the Table, which strikes an encouraging, instructive tone about the future of IT leadership and the CIO’s expanding business role. “If we cannot know the future, then we have to think a bit differently,” he writes. And he does just that. Mark’s argument that IT executives must change their behaviors—dropping the “command and control” mindset in favor of community building and Agile leadership practices—resonates throughout this well-organized, thoughtful book. While attaining that “seat at the table” often refers to CIO career goals, the ideas and approaches explored in this book are essential reading for anyone hoping to advance in the IT profession today.
—Maryfran Johnson, Executive Director of CIO Programs, IDG (International Data Group)
I use to feel guilty when someone would ask me how do I get my leadership to understand DevOps if they refuse to accept it. My answer was, basically, you can’t. Now I can give them a copy of A Seat at the Table.
—John Willis, Co-Author The DevOps Handbook
Mark Schwartz is a rare combination: a deep thinker who has also applied lean, Agile, and DevOps principles at the highest level, leading an extraordinary Agile transformation in the US Federal Government at USCIS. In this book, he shows how modern IT leaders succeed by driving business outcomes rather than operating an order-taking function. This shift in organizational mindset is critical to any successful technology transformation but requires substantial changes in behavior at every level, and Mark’s thorough analysis will prove invaluable to leaders who must execute it.
—Jez Humble, CTO, DevOps Research & Assessment LLC
If you’re a CIO, read this book. If you’re not a CIO but work closely with one, read this book.
Mark Schwartz is the best of iconoclasts. He brings deep insights from his unique erudition and real-world experience—ranging from a startup to government agency—in untangling the dilemma of the CIO in the second decade of Agile. There aren’t many people who can swing from Horace to Daniel Pink without losing a breath. And there aren’t many who can critique Agile and Waterfall with equal insight. This is a surprising book—well worth your (20%) time.
—Sam Guckenheimer, Product Owner, Visual Studio Team Services, Microsoft
As with his book The Art of Business Value, Mark Schwartz directly confronts the tensions that exist across the corporate IT landscape, showing us how we got here and what to do about it. Almost every page contains a situation I’ve seen in my day-to-day work, but that have not been articulated before. [A Seat at the Table is] required reading for anyone seeking to understand how IT should work with an organization to achieve success in an Agile age.
—Ian Miell, Lead Software Architect, Financial Services
This book should be required reading for all technology and business leaders who are serious about digital transformation. It takes you on a provocative, fun, and comprehensive tour of the key areas that will promote and ignite agility, creativity, learning, community and collaboration.
This book may be about taking a seat, but this is no time to be sitting still! IT leaders will be convinced that their job is now about incentivizing and inspiring courage, passion, and technical excellence in service of business objectives rather than blindly servicing requirements. You will find practical advice on how to deal with projects, scope creep, IT assets, governance, security, risk management, quality, and shadow IT.
—Jason Cox, Director, Systems Engineering, The Walt Disney Company
In his first book, The Art of Business Value, Mark brought together a unique understanding of modern techniques—Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery. In A Seat at the Table he grabs hold of these concepts and disrupts the conventional dynamics around the role of the CIO in any organization. His progressive thinking is unmatched and a must read for leadership and practitioners of all kinds.
—Luke McCormack, former CIO of the Department of Homeland Security
Mark has found the IT leadership cheese after Agile moved it. Finally, an idea of how to structure IT, including leadership and the teams, and joining the business and IT together!
—Joshua Seckel, Chief Engineer at WhiteHawk CEC, Inc.
High performing organizations see technology as a strategic capability of their business. The walls, inertia, and confusion of seats, sides and responsibilities does not exist for them. Yet many organizations still retain legacy mindsets and behaviors that limit their opportunities to improve, innovate, and inspire their people. Mark shows the steps needed to break free of these challenges and unlock potential, speed, and growth. His advice is pragmatic, practical, and to the point.
—Barry O’Reilly, co-author of The Lean Enterprise
“Agile” is more than a new software development practice; it is a new way to think, engage, and lead. As Mark Schwartz points out in his compelling new book, A Seat at the Table, when CIOs re-conceptualize their role based on Agile principles, they will stop worrying about having a seat on the table, and start realizing all of the full potential of IT.
—Martha Heller, CEO of Heller Search Associates and author Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT