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(Re-)Reviewed: the Phoenix project

With the launch of the Unicorn project, I revisited the Phoenix project. Seeing as my previous review was a mite lackluster, I decided to revisit that, too.

Author: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and  George Spafford
Publisher: IT Revolution Press
Year: 2013
ISBN: 9780988262591
Length: 345 pages

With the firing of the CIO and VP of IT Operations, Bill Palmer is persuaded to take the latter job by the CEO of Parts Unlimited. With an IT Operations team working after over-complicated processes, and full of roadblocks, he is tasked with fighting fire after fire as the Phoenix project launch looms ever closer.

The Phoenix project is a close IT cousin of Eli Goldratt’s legendary book “the Goal”, and follows the same basic business novel approach as Goldratt’s books. In it, the authors present the basic ideas behind ITIL and DevOps, showing how they and their associated methods can be used to provide better outcomes both for IT and for the business as a whole.

The book introduces the idea of the three ways:

  1. Systems thinking
  2. Amplification of feedback loops
  3. Fostering a culture of continual experimentation and learning

In addition, the book talks about the four types of work (business projects, internal projects, operational change, and unplanned work), and shows how they relate to the three ways and the idea of waste.

All in all, the Phoenix project remains an excellent and highly relevant book. Anyone serious about IT Operations and how it interfaces with the business at large, development, and society should take the time to read it at least once.

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