A much-anticipated sequel to the Phoenix project, the Unicorn project was launched late last year. Here are my thoughts:
Author: Gene Kim
Publisher: IT Revolution Press
Length: 352 pages
Arriving at work after a vacation, Maxine Chambers finds herself punished for a payroll outage by being exiled to work with documentation on the Phoenix project, Parts Unlimited prestige project. Encountering obstacle after obstacle, and documenting as she goes, she is soon approached by the Rebellion…
Where the Phoenix project approached Parts Unlimited and its trials and tribulations from the point of view of IT Operations, we are coming at it from the development side of things this time around. Building upon the ideas introduced in the Phoenix project (the three ways, the four types of work, and the seven types of waste), this time around we are introduced to the five ideals:
- Locality and simplicity
- Focus, flow, and joy
- Improvement of daily work
- Psychological safety
- Customer focus
This is expanded upon by talking about the three horizons of growth, as well as the idea of core versus contextual competencies. A strong focus on learning and professional development rounds it all out nicely. In addition, where the Phoenix project focused on formal managerial authority, the Unicorn project shows alternative career paths that may be more relevant to the desires of many skilled engineers and developers.
Like the Phoenix project before it, the Unicorn project is a highly enjoyable book. Demonstrating things that were previously only vaguely alluded to, it shows the development side of how things were turned around. I have no compunctions about recommending this book, too.