The Phoenix Project – Book Review

A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Some people are lucky to find books that changes their life. While I’m yet to find my life-changing novel, I do come across books that make me think, question my beliefs and push me to learn. The Project Phoenix is that book for me.

Written by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr, the book is about a large company’s transformation into a DevOps culture. Transformation driven not just to look cool, but as a necessity for the survival of the company.

The synopsis is simple. Bill, the protagonist, is the Director of Midrange Operations at Parts Unlimited, a US-based $4 billion per year manufacturing and retail company. Bill is swiftly pulled into the spotlight by the CEO and persuaded hoodwinked into taking up the post as VP of IT Operations. It soon becomes clear that among standard responsibilities, Bill and his team are responsible for making the launch of the risky doomed Project Phoenix a success. Project Phoenix not only seems to be hugely overscoped for its ambitious – and imminent – timelines, but it also faces enormous pressure elsewhere.

The characters and situations in the book are stereotypical, however that’s not a criticism. The intent is clearly for us to identify with the characters and events, to relate your workplace with the story . So here are my key learnings “spoiler-free

DevOps is a collaborative working relationship between Development and IT Operations 🤝

Outcome of this collaboration is fast flow of planned work, while increasing the reliability, stability of the production environment.

3️ Ways principle 📜

The First way – focuses on maximizing flow of work from left-to-right starting from business to development to IT operations to the end user.

The Second way – focuses on increasing the feedback loop from right to left. The focus is not only on getting feedback but also on how fast we can get the feedback in order to make necessary corrections/improvement quickly.

The Third way – The third way is all about developing and fostering a culture of continuous experimentation and learning.

Speed to Deliver is the key 🚀

Technology is life blood of all business today. It’s imperative that all business should strive to bring their applications to market more quickly so they don’t miss any opportunities and easily adjust to the market standards. To achieve these objectives, organizations must adopt the right DevOps practices in their software development processes to reduce time to market.

Overall, book does a great job at explaining all these ideas with examples and linking them together. It’s a super fun and easy read, and I would definitely recommend you.

Author: Varun Dhawan

Hello dear reader, I'm DevOps Engineer based in Minnesota, US (beautiful land of 10,000 lakes). I am perpetually curious and always willing to learn and engineer systems that can help solve complex problems using data. When I am not engineering or blogging, you’ll find me cooking and spending time with my wife and daughter. Varun.Dhawan@gmail.com

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