The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business WinThe Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, George Spafford, Kevin Behr
Publisher: IT Revolution Press
Released: January 10, 2013
Pages: 345
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Bill is an IT manager at Parts Unlimited. It's Tuesday morning and on his drive into the office, Bill gets a call from the CEO.

The company's new IT initiative, code named Phoenix Project, is critical to the future of Parts Unlimited, but the project is massively over budget and very late. The CEO wants Bill to report directly to him and fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill's entire department will be outsourced.

With the help of a prospective board member and his mysterious philosophy of The Three Ways, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. With the clock ticking, Bill must organize work flow streamline interdepartmental communications, and effectively serve the other business functions at Parts Unlimited.

In a fast-paced and entertaining style, three luminaries of the DevOps movement deliver a story that anyone who works in IT will recognize. Readers will not only learn how to improve their own IT organizations, they'll never view IT the same way again.

This has the clear position of the best book I’ve ever read that I’d recommend to hardly anyone. Technically it probably qualifies as an educational read, but if the reader happens to be in the target audience, it’s a really fun, really funny story. We follow Bill who has just been made VP of IT operations. The basic premise is that he has to turn the company around. It’s obvious that a bunch of changes have to be made for the company to survive, but what kind of changes need to be made, and why?

You may be wondering why on earth anyone would ever read this book, which is a fair point. To enjoy this book you will probably need to have, or have had, a certain kind of job. If your job involves or involved a bit of coding, a bit of deployment of code, a bit of firefighting (the kind without actual flames), and the juggling of priorities in terms of fixing stuff now, vs. rolling out new stuff, vs. making sure stuff doesn’t break in the future, vs. making stuff easier to fix in the future, and so on, and so forth, you will enjoy this book. You will relate to the situations, the characters, the scenarios, the problems, and hopefully also the solutions. If none of what you just read in this review applies to you, this will probably be a very boring book.

Oh, and if you are a coder, and are not involved in the deployment of your own code, you definitely need to give this a read. While I have a hard time believing that any coder works in complete isolation from deployment any more (for reasons which are made painfully clear in this story), anyone who actually finds themselves in that situation really, really, has to read this book.

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