Mark Schwartz

Mark-Schwartz

I’m an experienced, award-winning CIO, a change agent who has led organizations in creating innovative solutions to some of the toughest business challenges around. I am known for formulating and articulating powerful visions and using them to drive change in complex, matrixed, and sometimes rigid and bureaucratic environments. The author of a book on The Art of Business Value, I know how to put technology to work to create competitive advantage, increase revenue, accomplish mission, and generate value. I also have experience as a CEO, with MBA degree from Wharton and Computer Science degree from Yale.

I speak frequently at conferences on topics such as Innovation, applying Agile and DevOps ideas to enterprise IT, and overcoming low trust and bureaucratic environments. In 2010 I was named by Computerworld Magazine one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders, an award for “exceptional technology leadership, innovative ideas for solving business challenges, and effectively managed IT strategies.” I have also been recognized by Information Week, CIO Magazine, and Federal Computer News, and in 2015 was named the federal government’s Leader in Technology Innovation by AFFIRM.

I have been an IT leader in organizations small and large, public, private, and nonprofit. As the CIO at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, I support the processing of about 7 million applications for benefits each year, including requests for citizenship, permanent resident status, employment authorization, refugee status and other humanitarian assistance.

Sessions

The problem with Product Ownership

35' Talk

The old Waterfall model was based on a separation between IT and “the business.” It was as if IT were an arms-length contractor to the rest of the enterprise. “The business” wrote requirements and tossed them over the wall to IT to implement. When we moved to Agile ways of working, we thought we had overcome the business-IT divide. But in fact, we have replicated it on each team. In most Scrum implementations, a product owner is drawn from “the business” and is responsible for making all decisions about what is valuable to the business. The rest of the team is responsible for implementation. The PO decides “what” and the technical part of the team decides “how.” This makes it impossible for the technical part of the team to take ownership of outcomes – just its technical outputs. But I have used an alternative way of organizing agile teams that overcomes this problem. In my talk, I’ll explain how.

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