The Art of Business Value

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-04-07
  • Publisher: It Revolution Pr

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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.

Author Biography

Mark Schwartz is an iconoclastic CIO and a playful crafter of ideas, an inveterate purveyor of lucubratory prose. He has been an IT leader in organizations small and large, public, private, and nonprofit. As the CIO of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, he provokes the federal government into adopting Agile and DevOps practices. He is pretty sure that when he was the CIO of Intrax Cultural Exchange he was the first person ever to use business intelligence and supply chain analytics to place au pairs with the right host families. Mark speaks frequently on innovation, bureaucratic implications of DevOps, and Agile processes in low-trust environments. With a computer science degree from Yale and an MBA from Wharton, Mark is either an expert on the business value of IT or just confused and much poorer.

Table of Contents

Agile and Lean practices are all about maximizing the business
value we deliver. Agile books tell us that business value is important,
but none of them seem to tell us what business value is, though
they do scatter clues here and there. In this chapter, however, we
examine the clues and find that they come to nothing. Business
value is a mystery at the core of Agile practice.

Our first step in solving the mystery is to consult the experts.
Unfortunately, the experts just deepen the mystery for us. It turns
out that we need to cast a wider net to catch our elusive target.

Good detective work involves observing people. We find that there
seems to be a connection between organizational culture and
business value. But to understand it, we have to immerse ourselves
in corporate culture, rather than reject it or stand apart from it.

What could bureaucracy possibly have to do with business value?
A lot, perhaps. Warning: this chapter contains graphic depictions
of bureaucracy being applied to agility. You may come away wanting
to produce burndown charts in triplicate.

Someone has been forgotten in all this talk about business value.
She makes a mysterious entrance, claiming to be following the same
trail of clues that we are. Or . . . could it be that she is responsible?

Aha—the case (or the CAS) takes a turn. We skip lightly into the
fourth dimension, take a look back, and all becomes clear. But you'll
find no spoilers here in the Table of Contents.

We lock up the culprit and explain the tools we have used to solve
the mystery. You will begin to see business value as an art and walk
away with surprising new ideas on how to go about creating it.

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