The Art of Business Value


Playful and thought-provoking, iconoclastic CIO Mark Schwartz explores what business value means, why it matters, and how it should affect your software development and delivery practices.

Additional Book Info

  • Description

    Do you really understand what business value is? Information technology can and should deliver business value. But the Agile literature has paid scant attention to what business value means—and how to know whether or not you are delivering it. This problem becomes ever more critical as you push value delivery toward autonomous teams and away from requirements “tossed over the wall” by business stakeholders. An empowered team needs to understand its goal!

    Playful and thought-provoking, The Art of Business Value explores what business value means, why it matters, and how it should affect your software development and delivery practices. More than any other IT delivery approach, DevOps (and Agile thinking in general) makes business value a central concern. This book examines the role of business value in software and makes a compelling case for why a clear understanding of business value will change the way you deliver software.

    This book will make you think deeply about not only what it means to deliver value but also the relationship of the IT organization to the rest of the enterprise. It will give you the language to discuss value with the business, methods to cut through bureaucracy and strategies for incorporating Agile teams and culture into the enterprise. Most of all, this book will startle you into new ways of thinking about the cutting-edge of Agile practice and where it may lead.


    Chapter 1: The Problem

    Chapter 2: The Meaning

    Chapter 3: The Culture

    Chapter 4: The Rules

    Chapter 5: The CIO

    Chapter 6: The Clue

    Chapter 7: The Delivery

  • “A well-written, lucid, and thorough inquiry . . . that will prove invaluable to every organization working in the Lean/Agile paradigm.” —Jez Humble, Author of Continuous Delivery and Lean Enterprise

    “This is a mind-expanding experience for all of us who strive to provide real value in the solutions that we deliver.” —Carmen DeArdo, DevOps Industry Speaker and Fortune 100 Technology Leader

    “This entertaining and deeply researched book is an essential guide for businesses that are evolving to adopt Agile and DevOps practices . . .” —Adrian Cockcroft, Technology Fellow at Battery Ventures

    “With an engaging writing style, Mark Schwartz builds a case for developing an organizational culture for . . . IT and other stakeholders to collectively work to define and deliver business value. If you care about how IT can effectively support improved outcomes for your organization, you should read this book.” —Richard A. Spires, CEO of Learning Tree International, former CIO of US Department of Homeland Security, and former Deputy Commissioner and CIO of the IRS

    “Mark Schwartz masterfully deconstructs the overloaded and misunderstood concepts of ‘business value,’ ‘product owner,’ and other nebulous value terms. He then introduces us to novel approaches that directly address many of the shortfalls of more traditional systems—finally helping to plug a gaping hole in much of the Agile literature.” —Max Keeler, Chief Projects Officer of the Motley Fool

    “This book brings together Agile, DevOps and Business Value in a coherent, direct yet humble manner with insights that can only come from an experienced practitioner. ‘At the heart of DevOps is a machine—a Continuous Delivery pipeline . . . The pipeline is an automated bureaucracy . . . it applies its rules in a rigorous, unemotional way’ – priceless!” —Tapabrata Pal, Ph.D., Director & Platform Engineering Fellow, Enterprise Application Platforms

    “Schwartz calls into question all previously known techniques for assigning business value and provides a sane, modern approach to evaluating priority. Bridging the gap between Agile, DevOps, Lean Startup, Continuous Delivery and the business, he makes his recommendations approachable, couching them as experiments . . . a must have book for anybody interested in a better way to align their IT department with the business.” —Mike McGarr, Engineering Manager, Netflix

  • Pages: 160

    7 black-and-white drawings

    Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches

    ISBN Paperback: 978-1942788041; epub 978-1942788058; Kindle 978-1942788065

    Publication: April 1, 2016

    Additional material: Footnotes, Bibliography

  • Length: 4 hours, 6 minutes

    Type: Audio Download

    ISBN: 9781942788485

    Narrator: Eric Martin

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A Reader's Guide to A Seat at the Table is intended to add another dimension to the original book. This reader's guide walks through A Seat at the Table chapter by chapter.

The guide includes additional material for each chapter on:
• What has changed between the Waterfall/contractor-control world and the Agile world.
• The key points of the chapter.
• The concrete actions that IT leaders should take away from the chapter.
• Questions to help stimulate further debate.
• And more.

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