DEVOPS, Friends and family, the latest management failures at USPTO CIO. This article is going to cover how the USPTO CIO duped his leaders, unethically hired several employees and is being praised by CIO community but has not actually delivered any major applications. If you’re receiving this then you have the power to correct 10 years of CIO insanity. Have you noticed how poor the leadership in the OCIO has become and how overall system performance has declined over the years? Do you want change, then your leadership is needed to correct the many wrongs and lost revenue incurred by the CIO. The deception begin 3 years ago John Owens started marketing a new concept called DEVOPS. Owens claims DEVOPS is the answer for his ongoing development and system troubles.
Well I am sorry to tell you, but you were played, it was all a ruse to hire Tony Chiles and mask incompetency. Let’s start with the hiring of Tony Chiles, John Owens could not hire him as the Deputy because Uncle David Chiles (the current CTO) is a blood relative, and as many of you know you cannot have a blood relative supervising another in the federal government. To accomplish this unethical activity Mr. Owens needed to reorganize the CIO, promote David Chiles to CTO, making him a direct report to Owens, and this cleared the path for Owens to legally hire Tony Chiles as the Deputy, that and the help of a couple of other USPTO SESs. Why did Owens need Tony Chiles? According to several staff members, it was because he was supposedly an expert in DEVOPS, and Mr. Owens needs DEVOPS to save USPTO.
It’s hard for one to fathom how USPTO senior leadership could fall for such an elementary tactic but more importantly why now. The story gets better, according to my research Tony Chiles was unemployed for a year and needed a job desperately. Why was he unemployed for a year, probably because he is incompetent and lacks leadership skills, as I am sure the current USPTO staff is well aware. I know the business components know this as they have been complaining for some time about it. I leave it to you to decide but I can tell you most CIO employees consider him a failure as a leader. Aside from obvious efforts to hire a close family friend, it’s clear that Owens lacks the overall both the technical and leadership skills to actually move the agency forward. Mr. Kappos saw this and quickly hired an outside consultant from UCLA to infuse some leadership but even they could not overcome the years of stupidity entrenched in the CIO.
How has Mr. Ownes been able to survive this long, he uses an old management technique the employs strategy of blame everyone but the leader. Look at all the SESs and other senior managers he has removed of over the last several years. When the going gets tough and he is not going to meet a deadline, it’s always the failure of someone else, just look at the track record. Even when the agency gives him everything he asks for he still cannot move the agency forward. So what does he do, he embraces the latest IT trend, sells it to management and buys himself another three years. I know many of you are shaking your head in agreement but are now embarrassed by being fooled.
I know you will say he has made some progress over the last years but I will tell you that after 10 years and over 2 billion in mismanaged spending those small wins are the more likely a result of luck than leadership. I have been researching your OCIO, their continued failures, and in my research, I have come across information that you might give you a different perspective and a cause for action. You want proof. I have been pouring over your agency’s OMB submissions and coupled with some FOIA requests to the Department of Commerce CIO, I have found that the USPTO CIO has one of the worst returns on investments ratios in the department of commerce.
Now you’re thinking this a horror story but like all horror stories we all curious to know how it started. So let’s start with the most obvious, the hiring of Mr. Owens from AOL. Are any of you aware that at the time of his departure AOL had taken a turn for the worst and the reason he left was he and many others were the cause of that downturn? In speaking with current and former AOL employees, I found that Mr. Owens was just a low-level manager, a “connectivity guy”. Many wondered how he ever got appointed to be CIO. According to past USPTO leadership, the one thing Mr. Owens can do well is talk his way out of why he can’t deliver products usually using the Patent and Trademark leadership as an excuse to escape true responsibility.
Conversely, the Patent and Trademark leadership state the CIO’s proposed redesigns did not meet their needs and often did not function properly, as evidenced in countless hours of down time of the systems. Now back to his use of DEVOPS the ruse of ruses. He is trying to use a philosophy embraced by the private sector but struggles in its implementation due to his lack of technical acuity. In simple terms he and his deputy disguise progress by using the complexities of DEVOPS and Agile Project Management to senior management. This is a simple management sleight of hand often used by poor leaders to hide maleficence. Why go to this length of deception, simple, its survival, when you lack the skills to move on you have to manipulate the environment to stay alive. This easily accomplished, because of the status of USPTO as a PBO, with no real congressional oversight, and so long as the business keeps accepting nonfunctioning systems, the IG will never find fault, and the CIO can live forever, forever fooling leadership about the complexities of the systems.
Just how Mr. Owens achieves his ends is telling. Mr. Owens and his deputy do not actually make the selection of the ex-AOL employee, but they simply bully their subordinates to do so or assign them to a board and tell them to pick the person they want. If they do not do as they asked, the employee faces stern consequences – they find out they are the worst performing employee and disciplined at will. As leaders, you need to purge yourselves of this blight and appoint a CIO that supports the USPTO and achieves true innovation, not just his personal goals.
I have been told by my patent friends that Mr. Owens recently underwent surgery for weight loss and has lost close to 100 pounds, a great feat and I congratulate him, but I think the USPTO should have the same procedure done and lose Mr. Owens and he can also take along his little deputy he crapped out (yeah, I know a cheap shot). If you would like to share some insights with me then simply respond to this email via a non-government account.