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War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age

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Today, the big obstacle to a successful business transformation within a company is neither culture, nor bureaucracy, nor even the ever-changing technology landscape. It is the relationship between the business and its IT organization, an uneasy and less than effective alliance born of misunderstandings, a hazy sense of shared mission, and nerds versus suits stereotypes. I Today, the big obstacle to a successful business transformation within a company is neither culture, nor bureaucracy, nor even the ever-changing technology landscape. It is the relationship between the business and its IT organization, an uneasy and less than effective alliance born of misunderstandings, a hazy sense of shared mission, and nerds versus suits stereotypes. In War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age, Mark Schwartz, author of A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility and The Art of Business Value, shows why and how executives and business leaders must create a shared strategy with their IT organizations to drive innovation, enhance their competitive positioning, increase revenue, and delight customers.


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Today, the big obstacle to a successful business transformation within a company is neither culture, nor bureaucracy, nor even the ever-changing technology landscape. It is the relationship between the business and its IT organization, an uneasy and less than effective alliance born of misunderstandings, a hazy sense of shared mission, and nerds versus suits stereotypes. I Today, the big obstacle to a successful business transformation within a company is neither culture, nor bureaucracy, nor even the ever-changing technology landscape. It is the relationship between the business and its IT organization, an uneasy and less than effective alliance born of misunderstandings, a hazy sense of shared mission, and nerds versus suits stereotypes. In War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age, Mark Schwartz, author of A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility and The Art of Business Value, shows why and how executives and business leaders must create a shared strategy with their IT organizations to drive innovation, enhance their competitive positioning, increase revenue, and delight customers.

30 review for War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bjoern Rochel

    Basically the companion book to „A seat at the table“ for the business side of things. Not much new here. Overall content still resonates a lot with my views on software development. One thing that made me chuckle is how the companies that are referenced as thought leaders change from „a seat at the table“: Away from internet companies Netflix, Amazon, Google and friends to BCG and the McKinseys. He knows his audience :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abdulbasit Zahir

    Most of it not understandable to me, but if you are in IT company or organization read it, It was great book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    George

    This book summarizes all the key concepts of Digital Transformation.. What the author I believe tries to say, using also literature quotes to elevate the messages, is : "You cannot control everything". He says: Embrace the mistakes, agility, innovation and ownership. It is indeed the culture change the biggest challenge of the current organizations rather that implementing new cool tools. This book summarizes all the key concepts of Digital Transformation.. What the author I believe tries to say, using also literature quotes to elevate the messages, is : "You cannot control everything". He says: Embrace the mistakes, agility, innovation and ownership. It is indeed the culture change the biggest challenge of the current organizations rather that implementing new cool tools.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    This is the 3rd of Schwartz's books I have read and the one I appreciated most as a practitioner. All three books examine the role of leadership in an Agile business. However, "A Seat at the Table" and "The Art of Business Value" tend to assume the basic truth that "War and Peace and IT" explores -- that the Agile processes are the correct answer to the need for rapid adaptation to uncertain conditions. Many people looking at software development from the outside take a bit of the perspective th This is the 3rd of Schwartz's books I have read and the one I appreciated most as a practitioner. All three books examine the role of leadership in an Agile business. However, "A Seat at the Table" and "The Art of Business Value" tend to assume the basic truth that "War and Peace and IT" explores -- that the Agile processes are the correct answer to the need for rapid adaptation to uncertain conditions. Many people looking at software development from the outside take a bit of the perspective that Agile is just another way of doing business and that using Agile is somewhat of a personal choice. In this book, Schwartz makes the point that Agile is not just a personal preference, it is the correct way to respond to situations where conditions change rapidly and there is great value to responding quickly to the new information those changes bring. This is the way in war, and this is the way in the modern competitive business landscape. A corollary idea is that a key function of IT is to steward and nurture that agility. The software we use today delivers value to our current business processes and to our customers. But nobody would imagine those needs are unchanging. What creates the ability to be the first to market tomorrow is our ability to iterate on our current IT assets more quickly than our competitors. That capability is a function of the cultures and teams we build, the skills we value in our people, and our ability to manage the technical debt that impedes our agility. Another central theme of the book is the idea that viewing IT as a consultant is a critical impediment to delivering maximum value to the business. Schwartz celebrates the T-shaped team member at every level of the enterprise, and in every role. When the people on our teams have broad skill sets and deep specialties, we naturally collaborate on a wide range of projects and support each other in solving complex problems. And that is a vision for the workplace that yields value both to the enterprise and to the individuals that comprise its whole.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo Canto

    In War and Peace and IT the idea is not to create a new movement or idea, but to share a set of tools for the digital transformation. The author starts by creating analogies between the scope of the book and the Napoleonic Wars but soon lose interest and relation. In the book several concepts are presented with the intend of showing the importance of IT in determining and fulfilling business objective, as it is an organic part of the company, a part of the culture and a part of it’s outcomes. What In War and Peace and IT the idea is not to create a new movement or idea, but to share a set of tools for the digital transformation. The author starts by creating analogies between the scope of the book and the Napoleonic Wars but soon lose interest and relation. In the book several concepts are presented with the intend of showing the importance of IT in determining and fulfilling business objective, as it is an organic part of the company, a part of the culture and a part of it’s outcomes. What value comes from being a mere service provider? The book highlights the confusion that many have with the concepts of bureaucracy and lean, which I believe important to clarify. They do not represent a duality of the enterprise organization. In fact, lean is the state of the bureaucracy that we what to achieve. This state should be in constant revision as new learning is integrated. One of my criticisms is that the author ditches the waterfall approach project management without reflecting deeply on it. Isn't still valid for certain projects, e.g. network implementations? In this case I feel that Mark just jumped in the bandwagon... For me wasn't clear how the development of the IT strategy from Top Down in order to be closely synced to the business strategy (which I agree that is paramount) can sync with the role of the manager as a facilitator for employee ideas and bring them into the IT strategy, promoting innovation from a Bottom Up approach. How to harmonize both is not answered. Anyway, the book is perfectly valid for whom is looking for a summary of current methodologies and revise the role of IT in the organization even if at some times these concepts are repeated several times throughout the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wojtek

    It's a hard book to review. From the outside, it's entertaining and has a central theme pointed by the title. The more you are reading, the firmer feeling is that it is a set of loosely connected essays. It does not mean it's terrible, though. I enjoyed that book, and I can recommend it to the less tech-savvy readers on the executive-level positions interacting with IT teams. It's not a holy grail related to the communication between those "two worlds", but it is a decent try to do that. It's a hard book to review. From the outside, it's entertaining and has a central theme pointed by the title. The more you are reading, the firmer feeling is that it is a set of loosely connected essays. It does not mean it's terrible, though. I enjoyed that book, and I can recommend it to the less tech-savvy readers on the executive-level positions interacting with IT teams. It's not a holy grail related to the communication between those "two worlds", but it is a decent try to do that.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marcin Mazurek

    Great book but one thing that hit me. A lot about cloud and using it as a way to agility. I’m not surprised especially from AWS employee but not mentioning GCP or Azure as if they didn’t exist makes me think more about it like a sales pitch. Great book, good to organize thinking about the role of IT and CIO in contemporary business except for this one thing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Todd Cheng

    A blend of theories of IT in business as shared by an author who has experience of industry and government sectors with roles as CIO and CFO. He is well read and informative. It is current sample of the challenges and opportunities readable I expect for even the none Information Technology (IT) human.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    I found this book worth reading and understanding the perspective of the business and IT dynamic in this agile era. I did find the book a tad too lopsided to AWS bias in references but cannot complain too much considering the author’s current employer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Read for work book club. A bit too much focus on IT for a marketing person. Good insights on transitioning to an agile environment and digital transformation in general. Good nuggets, but a few long and repetitive pieces.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/niladr... https://www.linkedin.com/posts/niladr...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ave Mets

    I don't understand why the title contains 'war and peace' - there is nothing about that in the book. I don't understand why the title contains 'war and peace' - there is nothing about that in the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt Hutchins

    Mark Schwartz tells a great story and makes it pretty damned enjoyable!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Keith Roghair

    Good for a generating good book discussion topics. We thought it helped identify gaps within our own organization.

  15. 4 out of 5

    عبدالله عطيه

    I am having a problem with understanding IT strategist talks being a hands-on IT worker until now. There are some great ideas nevertheless.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Boyan

    A book about how to execute a digital transformation in an enterprise from a business perspective. A book about the Agile, DevOps, Lean. For me this was not new, especieally after going through such a digital transformation. But I enjoyed the way the author explains different angles of a digital transofmration along with prescritpions about how to make it a successful transformation.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nacho Bassino

    Excelent book, I wish I have read it a long time ago. Good insights on stakeholders relationship, good project vs product organization comparison.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Craig Martin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Howard R Morgan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philipp

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jon Shaffer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Remo

  24. 5 out of 5

    Uchenna Kalu

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve Watson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Watling

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matthew D Henson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Robert Lyons

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eddú

  30. 5 out of 5

    Readquish

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