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The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

  1. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Honestly, it reminds me of an Ayn Rand book. For every time I'm impressed how calm, kind and reasonable the protagonist is, there's another time how I'm shocked at how vindictive and petty the book (if not the protagonist directly) is to the people that seem to be standing in the way of the protagonist. Right now, it's security professionals, but a couple of chapters ago it was project managers, then developers, and then the CEO. No-one in those departments has any sympathy for the pr Honestly, it reminds me of an Ayn Rand book. For every time I'm impressed how calm, kind and reasonable the protagonist is, there's another time how I'm shocked at how vindictive and petty the book (if not the protagonist directly) is to the people that seem to be standing in the way of the protagonist. Right now, it's security professionals, but a couple of chapters ago it was project managers, then developers, and then the CEO. No-one in those departments has any sympathy for the protagonist, nor is there a screw up (so far) that was clearly internal to the Ops team -- they are just apparently perfect at their job. And don't get me started on the complaints about how dingy the offices are next to HR (when part of HR's job is trying to make people feel comfortable, and those offices are part of the job description). Oh, and Erik, the DevOps zen-master Mary Sue. He's just not credible as a character. Sure, he may exist, but he just doesn't know the protagonist well enough to be able to say the things he says. I'm secretly hoping he's Tyler Durden. Finished it. I am very, very surprised at how "Continuous Delivery" is jammed into the back. I am very surprised by the comments that Bill (the protagonist) has about the developers. I am downright astonished that the development team of a large corporation is capable of setting up a repeatable testable environment based on VM within weeks, can move to a cloud based solution like Amazon AWS, and put together a push-button packaged deployable solution to production and some how the operations guy gets the credit for that. I've worked as an e-commerce consultant for more than a decade, and even at places like Twitter it takes months of effort to do that. And it's completely brushed aside as something the developers can just "do" as soon as it's mentioned to them. It should have taken a solid year. It should have bottlenecked their critical resource, Brent, for a year. The same can be said of the job they did going through Kanban and the change process -- it would have taken a consultant months of getting everyone on-board and then even longer to get people not to fall into old habits, but somehow Bill comes back after a weekend and his team has already sorted everything. It's dishonest, and it presents a distorted view of how much work it can be to change and how much fear peopl can have of change, especially the threats of outsourcing and company liquidations. I am utterly shocked at how John, the security guy, has a meltdown, gets drunk, and then and becomes an evangelist for Bill. It's bizarre, especially when you consider his approach. Ask Etsy about their e-commerce functionality and then ask Etsy whether they could get by without their security team. It's not even dishonest... it's disrespectful. Read Continuous Integration and Beyond Software Architecture. Call in Opscode or another devops company to do a consult. Start sending out your ops guys to conferences. Just please, please, please, don't take this book literally. It's fiction. It makes Ayn Rand look realistic. And that's all I have to say about that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Bill Palmer gets thrust into the CIO position at Parts Unlimited and has 90 days to make chicken salad out of chicken shit or the entire IT department gets outsourced. Does Bill have what it takes? Confession Time: I've worked in IT for the past fifteen years. When the CTO of the company I work for strongly recommended all IT personnel read this, I bit the bullet. Remember those after school specials that were some kind of lesson with a flimsy story wrapped around it? That's pretty much wha/>Confession Bill Palmer gets thrust into the CIO position at Parts Unlimited and has 90 days to make chicken salad out of chicken shit or the entire IT department gets outsourced. Does Bill have what it takes? Confession Time: I've worked in IT for the past fifteen years. When the CTO of the company I work for strongly recommended all IT personnel read this, I bit the bullet. Remember those after school specials that were some kind of lesson with a flimsy story wrapped around it? That's pretty much what this was. Only instead of featuring cool things like sex and drugs, this one was about the pitfalls of being an IT manager. It read like the book equivalent of the awful training video I had to watch when I worked loss prevention at K-mart about a thousand years ago. Bill's a server guy who suddenly becomes CIO and is forced to turn the Phoenix Project around. Yeah, it's just as riveting as it sounds. All the kiss asses at work rave about the book but it's barely a novel. It's a management manual disguised as a novel. Not only that, Bill is kind of a dick and a Mary Sue. A Dick Sue, if you will. Even before investigating the author, I could tell he was an operations guy rather than a developer. It was pretty easy to tell by the way he laid the heaviest of the blame on everyone except the server guys. It's like a garbage man writing a book where the garbage man is the only one who can save the day. The book reads like someone recounting meetings he's been in, which is pretty much what it is. That and some corporate propaganda praising the use of Agile IT management and The Cloud. Actually, now that I think about it, it kind of reminds me of The Pillars of the Earth, where the plot is a loop of problems, solutions, and unexpected complications, only instead of a church, they're building an application. The rape levels aren't the same, either. The book gets a little improbable by the end. After some pep talks and embracing the Agile philosophy, somehow a team that couldn't find its asses with both hands and a map can suddenly turn things around enough to master cloud computing in half a page. Despite all the above-mentioned dislikes, and the fact that the characters are as thin as toilet paper from the Dollar Tree, this book wasn't a total piece of shit. Despite going in determined not to learn anything, I did manage to pick up some tips and saw a lot of similarities with my everyday life. Two out of five stars. It's not much of a novel but someone who is already pondering embracing the techniques this book beats you over the head with will probably rate it a lot higher.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pamela (slytherpuff)

    See more of my reviews at Bettering Me Up. I know what you're thinking. Wow. A fictionalized account of ITIL and Agile methodologies. That sounds so...exciting. But it is! Imagine my surprise when I was completely sucked into Bill's world. IT Operations isn't always a fun place to work: servers crash; applications freeze; vulnerabilities are everywhere; and customers--both internal and external--scream for support. So how to you manage all of the Work in Pr See more of my reviews at Bettering Me Up. I know what you're thinking. Wow. A fictionalized account of ITIL and Agile methodologies. That sounds so...exciting. But it is! Imagine my surprise when I was completely sucked into Bill's world. IT Operations isn't always a fun place to work: servers crash; applications freeze; vulnerabilities are everywhere; and customers--both internal and external--scream for support. So how to you manage all of the Work in Progress (WIP), emergencies, and planned work? It's enough to give any professional geek a panic attack. Enter our heroes: ITIL and Kanban. These Best Practice methodologies will help Bill and his team revolutionize how IT functions and contributes to the business at large. The Phoenix Project takes a dry subject and turns it into an understandable narrative. Certain concepts that I didn't quite grasp when I studied for my ITIL certification became crystal clear during the course of this book. I'm really looking forward to implementing a Kanban board with my team at work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thorsten

    to be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed how much i enjoyed this book! It's basically a business/IT management book thinly disguised as a novel, but i must say it's very well done. It's such niche subject matter that i'm not sure anyone outside of an IT Ops role would appreciate it, but i genuinely learned a lot about how IT needs to integrate within business goals to actually achieve anything, that it doesn't exist in a vacuum, and if it does, then something is seriously out of wack. It preaches goo to be honest, I'm a bit embarrassed how much i enjoyed this book! It's basically a business/IT management book thinly disguised as a novel, but i must say it's very well done. It's such niche subject matter that i'm not sure anyone outside of an IT Ops role would appreciate it, but i genuinely learned a lot about how IT needs to integrate within business goals to actually achieve anything, that it doesn't exist in a vacuum, and if it does, then something is seriously out of wack. It preaches good principles, basically the silver bullet of Continuous Deployment and what value that brings to the dev cycle. I believe from what I've read that it's basically a rewrite of 'The Goal' - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goa... - which is "widely used in leading colleges of management to teach students about the importance of strategic capacity planning and constraint management." but with a DevOps spin on it. Its definitely a tech book but eschews any one technology, to focus on the underlying principles. I'm curious to see what others make of it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John

    Imagine an Ayn Rand novel where John Galt gives stilted lectures about ITIL and lean manufacturing instead of objectivism. Update: It's not a great book, but if you're working in a dysfunctional IT environment and never manage to make it through any of the traditional business/tech books that could help you this would be a great place to start. Just promise you you won't stop here either. Another update: bumped up to three stars, I've read some two star stuff lately and this isn't that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bjoern Rochel

    This is the unicorn we'll be all hunting for the next 5+ years. De Marco's The Deadline finally found his spiritual successor. Don't take this book too literally, like a prescription of rules to follow. The change that they're able to achieve in the book in the given timeframe is, well, quite unrealistic. Most companies don't face extinction and are not forced to reevaluate the way value is delivered. And if they do, changing the whole value stream and culture of a company is probably something This is the unicorn we'll be all hunting for the next 5+ years. De Marco's The Deadline finally found his spiritual successor. Don't take this book too literally, like a prescription of rules to follow. The change that they're able to achieve in the book in the given timeframe is, well, quite unrealistic. Most companies don't face extinction and are not forced to reevaluate the way value is delivered. And if they do, changing the whole value stream and culture of a company is probably something that takes years and not weeks and months (if we talk about a normal mid-sized company). But I very much like and appreciate the thinking model behind the novel, as expressed in The Three Ways. Quite eye opening for me. So far I always thought of 'DevOps' as 'You build it, you run it'. It never came to my mind that 'DevOps' also partially means system thinking, value stream optimization and most of all 'us' and not 'we' and 'them'. I like to end this review with one of my favorite quotes from the book: The relationship between IT and the business is like a dysfunctional marriage -- both feel powerless and held hostage by the other Being aware of this is a good start

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    The copywriter gave up on p150, and so should you. Things start to go downhill when "illusive" replaces "ellusive", and the grammatical eccentricities snowball from there. But wait, you ask ... if I stop now, how will I learn whether Bill masters the Three Laws? Will he develop a Mutually Supportive Working Relationship with the Information Security Officer? Will the Enigmatic guru, Erik, request an olive in his martini? Why Does This Book Make Me Want To Capitalize Everything? And ho The copywriter gave up on p150, and so should you. Things start to go downhill when "illusive" replaces "ellusive", and the grammatical eccentricities snowball from there. But wait, you ask ... if I stop now, how will I learn whether Bill masters the Three Laws? Will he develop a Mutually Supportive Working Relationship with the Information Security Officer? Will the Enigmatic guru, Erik, request an olive in his martini? Why Does This Book Make Me Want To Capitalize Everything? And however is Bill going to finally Meet Your Mother? Some useful tools are introduced (Kanban boards, continuous deployment pipelines, etc) but with no detail -- presumably you are expected to purchase the authors' other book if you want concrete examples.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim O'Hearn

    This is the most cliché book I have ever read. The Phoenix Project uses a contrived narrative to deliver IT best practices like a mother would use applesauce to hide peas while spoon-feeding a toddler. The state of technology/management books might have been different five years ago, but I found the over-the-top nature insulting to the intelligence of the intended demographic. Yes, storylines help reinforce points, but the best books I encounter nowadays contain real examples sans the dramatics and thr This is the most cliché book I have ever read. The Phoenix Project uses a contrived narrative to deliver IT best practices like a mother would use applesauce to hide peas while spoon-feeding a toddler. The state of technology/management books might have been different five years ago, but I found the over-the-top nature insulting to the intelligence of the intended demographic. Yes, storylines help reinforce points, but the best books I encounter nowadays contain real examples sans the dramatics and three hundred pages of fluff. All of the characters are one-dimensional and predictable. Constants. Like the NPC characters you encounter in old RPG games, you know how the dialogue will go every single time. Eventually you’re able to memorize a combination of down-arrows and X-buttons and you can skip the dialogue. You have Brent, the 10X programmer. There’s John, the manic firewall expert who basically drinks himself to death and is reincarnated as a superhero. Sarah is ambitious and it’s never clear what she does aside from ask the IT team to do work for her. You have Nancy, the main character’s wife, who understands but reminds him that his job sucks should he ever forget. And then there’s Erik. Erik is the mysterious sensei type who guides Bill, the main character, to greener pastures and happy endings. There are a lot of riddles and descriptions of his clothing involved. By the end of the book, it turns out that Erik and Bill have a lot in common. Earlier, there is some type of seance where a few of the main characters dim the lights, sit around a table, and each reveal their “story.” Bill reveals that his father was a bad father--implying abandonment (yes, the book goes there). As I thought about it more while reflecting on why I didn’t enjoy this read, it seemed totally plausible that one of the authors, in an early draft of this book, planned to reveal Erik as Bill’s father. I'm not sure this would have taken the title for the most cringeworthy revelation. The plot goes from bad to worse to bad. Part one lures you in, while part two is a droning mundanity. In part 3, the authors use chapter 30 to remind you that they’re well-read, and later take two pages to explain how the IT Team made a miracle happen and subsequently saved the company. If you’re an engineer, don’t read this. If you’re on the non-technical manager spectrum, there’s something for you here. You have to parse through a lot of garbage--and I think you’re better off just digging in to more technically-oriented books--but there’s something for you here. You know how every manager has his the book? Please don’t make this your the book. You’re just a hypothetical to me right now and I’m confident that, regardless of your background, your precious time will be better spent reading something else. Truly, The Phoenix Project the book fails as embarrassingly as its namesake at Parts Unlimited.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sergey Shishkin

    Calling this a DevOps book is an understatement. The key to the company's success in the book wasn't automation or continuous delivery. What made the success transferable from the manufacturing plant floor to knowledge work was subordinating success criteria to top business measurements and rigorous application of the Theory of Constraints to achieve it. Of course, automation and continuous delivery are necessary intermediate steps for most traditional IT organizations on that journey.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is the first book I've read cover-to-cover in an extremely long time. And what follows in this review are less my final impressions and more the way the book hit me as I dove into it. I still believe my criticisms are valid, but they have less impact on my enjoyment and my ability to absorb the interstitial lessons than I had expected. You are so forewarned. As I'm reading the first few chapters, this book reminds me of my attitude towards the Agile Manifesto these days - "nobody understand This is the first book I've read cover-to-cover in an extremely long time. And what follows in this review are less my final impressions and more the way the book hit me as I dove into it. I still believe my criticisms are valid, but they have less impact on my enjoyment and my ability to absorb the interstitial lessons than I had expected. You are so forewarned. As I'm reading the first few chapters, this book reminds me of my attitude towards the Agile Manifesto these days - "nobody understands how *hard* our job is - if only they'd listen - this is the bile-backed rant I'd give them - and everyone else will have to take a back seat to pitting the Developer's needs above everyone else's!" Yes I want to understand how you view the world, but when you take an extremely bitter and slanted view to everyone else's situation and needs, you aren't engendering a lot of sympathy from me in return. I suspect for those who've been mired in the dungeon of the back office, underappreciated and never heard, this book is a godsend - "finally someone gets it!" But here's a protip: if you cajole management (or any other players who aren't on your team) to read this, don't expect them to encounter their funhouse-mirror stereotypes in the book and make it all the way through with an open mind. Nor to wade through the pedantic, condescending lectures and be magically transformed into taking your side over everyone else's. This is a lesson in managing up that I've learned the slow, hard way, and which I'm passing along as someone who's now part of the management layer: keep in mind that sometimes management hears you, even sometimes understand you, and *still* don't decide things your way. We generally have to take into consideration many competing perspectives, needs and constraints, and we often end up convinced of a different decision outcome than he one that most players want us to accept. You might not like to hear that, and you may not sympathise with others' needs, and that's not something others can control. Don't like the decision? Take a moment to imagine what other factors could have been more convincing (or constraining) *even if you don't agree they are important*. Chances are, most others in the organisation have just as unique a viewpoint as you, and rarely do they match. The weirdest premise of the book that you're expected to swallow without question is that newly-promoted CIO-stand-in Bill, a previously mid-level-manager with no executive grooming, in a company where CIOs rotate every two years and whose initiatives are all aborted failures, will somehow be prepared for executive politics, know how to navigate the financial and interpersonal challenges at his new level, *and* will be wildly successful with this whole "DevOps" initiative than every other CIO initiative that preceded him (presumably some that even come from successful, highly experienced, externally-hired CIOs). Especially in an organisation so full of hostility towards any ideas that come from IT. When everyone around you treats you as the enemy, even objectively-successful initiatives are rarely recognised as "success". Retroactive history-writing always goes to the victors of course, and they get to re-frame events however they like, so through that lens it's easy to see how Bill's choices are expected to be considered a deliberate winning strategy. In the back of my mind, as they're setting the premise for how Bill will succeed at pulling the Phoenix Project from years-long delay into deployed and operational, I feel like asking someone, "Is this fairy tale grounded in any actual experience of pulling this off? Is there any reason for me to believe that by pulling the same levers Bill pulls, I too will have a great chance of succeeding at making giant software efforts live and breathe in production?" And oh my gods are the condescending treatises thick in this book. For something attempting to read like a thriller, it takes on the start-halt style of Tom Clancy - no, more like Isaac Asimov - with stultifying regularity. The tale of the complete clusterfuck in act one gets entertaining, but the authors lose all credibility when they create an excuse to drop a ridiculous deadline (that wouldn't be possible for an organisation 1/10 the size we're talking) on the team (and me knowing the punchline going in: our John Galt hero, knowing nothing of DevOps until now, invents, designs and implements perfect DevOps to turn a front-page disaster org into a model of efficiency and capability). Puh-leeze. And YET, I found myself up 2 hours past my bedtime reading this sucker two nights in a row - which must mean despite all my protestations, there’s something compelling about the story that I’m not acknowledging in all my criticisms. Friends of mine who I talked to at the halfway point said, “it’s not exactly high literature”, “the supporting characters are more like paper dolls” and “didactic fiction isn’t meant to be enjoyed as pure storytelling”. I feel like this is an exercise in voluntary indoctrination, and I think I still have too much of an ego to submit and immerse myself into someone else’s biased point of view, without a whole lot of reflection and complaints. By about page 300, I've finally noticed that I can't stop paying close, willing attention to every discussion (to understand exactly what change is being discussed, and how that should impact the larger efforts) and worrying what new surprises will screw with our heroes' Herculean progress. My friggin heart is pounding, I'm stressed on behalf of Bill and crew, and I'm dying to see the evil villain Sarah smacked down hard. Maybe dragged away in chains, or pilloried for the undermining, posturing and backstabbing. It occurs to me near the end that without an antagonist of this magnitude, the story wouldn't have such a tight lock on my attention. Dammit, for all my complaints about how painful the writing is, I still end up reading it like a madman. My final impressions? As much as I bitch about the structure and players of this book, I'm here having made it ALL the way through (a first for me in a looong time) and I'm genuinely excited to put many of the lessons into practice myself. As skeptical as I can be of cults of personality, overall I have gratitude in my heart for Gene Kim and his co-authors, and I'll likely be an advocate for this book to others who were in my shoes just one week ago. === Edit === Looking back on this a while later, I recognise this for what it is: a religious text, meant to convert the suggestible novices over to a growing cult, told not through historical truths but through a series of parables, believable to the willing. I can see now that nearly none of the “lessons” in the book prepared me for succeeding in a DevOps world, other than to make me suggestible for further ideas umbrella’ed under the DevOps Banner. Maybe the “working, good, fast” principle? But I suspect that comes from any systems design discipline. But it was a fun, fictional read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    the prose was horrible - several very disconcerting shifts in tense were the least of it. and what did it teach me? that if I'm not in upper management nothing I do matters and I can't fix any of the problems plaguing my work. but if upper management just reads this book we will all go to a happy place and no one will balk except the moustache twirling villains who will either be fired or be reborn as if from a cocoon into their true form

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sinisa Mikasinovic

    Now this was a real treat for an IT guy! Finally I felt how the world sees us. On a superficial, "Hey, IT guy!", everyday level. On a deep, "Only IT guys know" level. On a management, "What do you do, and do we even need you?" level. On a spousal, "Are you still in the office?!" level. I guess it's easier to see when things are happening to someone else. Beware, for this will be just an average novel for non-IT people. Perhaps even less-than-average, as there's no standard p Now this was a real treat for an IT guy! Finally I felt how the world sees us. On a superficial, "Hey, IT guy!", everyday level. On a deep, "Only IT guys know" level. On a management, "What do you do, and do we even need you?" level. On a spousal, "Are you still in the office?!" level. I guess it's easier to see when things are happening to someone else. Beware, for this will be just an average novel for non-IT people. Perhaps even less-than-average, as there's no standard plot you may expect. But IT guys will love it! :-) What would happen if CTO of your company gets fired... and you're unwillingly forced to fill in his shoes? Want the job or not, you have 2 years to get stuff sorted out, or you're next. Then you realize how "stuff to sort out" basically means every IT resource in company, and those two years aren't really two years. *Gulp!* I loved every single page of this book. Although I bought Audible version [US/UK] as well, a friend loaned me his physical copy and I had a blast switching between them. Even combining, at times. Awesome narration, too! Gene Kim, you are amazing! Thank you for showing me The Three Ways ! For IT guys this will be as educational as it will be fun. End result made me re-evaluate myself as a professional. I'm already working on purging bad habits I never realized I had, nor how far back they held me. This was like listening to a life coach, but without all the bullshit :-) Enjoyed 100/100. if ($your_workplace -like "IT*") {     $grab_this_book -eq $true } else {     pick_something_else() }

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a novel about a company in crisis because IT and software development form a bottleneck for every aspect of the business. The rest of the business has blinders on, and doesn't even really understand their dependencies on IT and software. Sound familiar? The CEO brings in a potential new board member who enlightens the VP of IT in "lean" methodologies for IT. For those of us devoted to agile methodologies in software, there is not a lot that is surprising in matter o This is a novel about a company in crisis because IT and software development form a bottleneck for every aspect of the business. The rest of the business has blinders on, and doesn't even really understand their dependencies on IT and software. Sound familiar? The CEO brings in a potential new board member who enlightens the VP of IT in "lean" methodologies for IT. For those of us devoted to agile methodologies in software, there is not a lot that is surprising in matter of detail. But the big picture is a devastating take-down of business-as-usual for non-software businesses. In this case, the company in question is a manufacturing business for automotive and motorcycle parts (I think; the book is strangely quiet on some of the details about what the company really is) with retail stores. Focusing on a non-tech/software business is a smart move, because the software industry has known a lot about lean for some time. But the idea here is taking the lean methodologies from manufacturing, and bringing them to IT, within a traditional company. In short, the audience is absolutely not (or should not be) a software company, but rather something more like a brick-and-mortar business with an online store. I will quote from near the end of the book -- this isn't a spoiler. Think of it as a tease to get you to read the book: "In ten years, I'm certain every COO worth their salt will have come from IT. Any COO who doesn't intimately understand the IT systems that actually run the business is just an empty suit, relying on someone else to do their job" (pp. 332-333).

  14. 5 out of 5

    جادی میرمیرانی

    If looking for a "novel", this book will not get anything more than a 2 star from me. Very straight forward and simple story telling. But If you are in IT, this is an 5 star! If you are a professional IT operation guy, this book is like reading a diary of your own and will guide you the way. If you are a newcomer to IT this shows you the underlying principals of some ITIL operational concepts. Highly recommended if you are in IT.

  15. 4 out of 5

    James

    This book garnered lots of attention, which I mostly think because the subject matter is dry and there aren't many books on the overall topic. The contrived company and scenarios in this book are far to0 simple, I didn't like the delivery mechanism for covering the tenets of the DevOps approach. I wouldn't work in these conditions, and neither should you. Go find a place that appreciates you and the important work of IT if you find yourself relating to0 closely to these shallow characters. This book garnered lots of attention, which I mostly think because the subject matter is dry and there aren't many books on the overall topic. The contrived company and scenarios in this book are far to0 simple, I didn't like the delivery mechanism for covering the tenets of the DevOps approach. I wouldn't work in these conditions, and neither should you. Go find a place that appreciates you and the important work of IT if you find yourself relating to0 closely to these shallow characters. Some of the basic principals are valid, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out things might work out better if Development and Operations work more collaboratively, does it? Finally, this book was clearly written by an "Ops" guy. The Us vs Them throughout the entire story arc is tiring. Maybe a different approach altogether would yield the DevOps enlightenment a bit earlier. Two stars are all I could muster here, lots of contradictory data in the story, too many "aha" moments, and everything wraps up in nice bow at the end, including promotions for the whole team. :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcin

    OK. So it's not The Goal. The inspiration and the parallels are obvious (even explicit) and the story is entertaining but personally I didn't find it as ground-breaking. It can be very good for people to get a basic understanding of the many concepts (flow, WIP, TOC, systems thinking, ...) The focus of the book is firmly on the operational side of IT and any parallels with software development must be taken with care.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jurgen Appelo

    Great read, wonderful description of IT. As a novel quite OK.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lavinia

    It starts promising, and it gets you hooked. The story of a failing IT department due to unreasonable business behaviour is all too familiar. The book takes you on an interesting journey along side it's characters and it provides a glimpse inside the day to day life of software people. The ending however is rushed and feels like a romantic comedy when good prevails in the end and all evil is beaten. I would still recommend this book to any business person that has no idea on how software works a It starts promising, and it gets you hooked. The story of a failing IT department due to unreasonable business behaviour is all too familiar. The book takes you on an interesting journey along side it's characters and it provides a glimpse inside the day to day life of software people. The ending however is rushed and feels like a romantic comedy when good prevails in the end and all evil is beaten. I would still recommend this book to any business person that has no idea on how software works and wants to start a software project.

  19. 4 out of 5

    mohamed

    when i dove into this book, i thought i had an idea, i thought it's inspiring, tutoring..anything, it's just plain boring, it talks about working..literally working, in a cubicle , the kind of thing you read your entire life NOT to do, or even to escape it, it's like doing work with your eyes ( or in my case ears because i was listening to the audio) , i have no idea who would read this, it might appeal to some people, but i don't think that that kind of working people have the time to read this when i dove into this book, i thought i had an idea, i thought it's inspiring, tutoring..anything, it's just plain boring, it talks about working..literally working, in a cubicle , the kind of thing you read your entire life NOT to do, or even to escape it, it's like doing work with your eyes ( or in my case ears because i was listening to the audio) , i have no idea who would read this, it might appeal to some people, but i don't think that that kind of working people have the time to read this kind of books, and for the rest of us just...WHY? well when you wanna venture out side of you reading comfort zone this might happen. when this happens just GTFO and read on!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sandro Mancuso

    This is a great book and a must read for any IT professional or manager. Anyone who ever worked for a medium to large organisation will immediately identify themselves with the situations described in the book. If you are not familiar with Lean, Theory of Constraints, Agile methodologies, and DevOps, you have an extra motive to read this book. But if you are already familiar with those things, you should read this book anyway, purely for the entertainment value. I'm sure you will learn a few goo This is a great book and a must read for any IT professional or manager. Anyone who ever worked for a medium to large organisation will immediately identify themselves with the situations described in the book. If you are not familiar with Lean, Theory of Constraints, Agile methodologies, and DevOps, you have an extra motive to read this book. But if you are already familiar with those things, you should read this book anyway, purely for the entertainment value. I'm sure you will learn a few good lessons from it. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    Anyone working in IT can benefit from reading this book...I probably shouldn't have considered it a comedy but there were so many scenarios I read where I found myself smiling, nodding and thinking, "That sounds about right." Kudos to the authors from showing the relevance of IT in the enterprise and how interconnected everything is that makes our businesses run. Additionally, great leadership skills highlighted by the main character, Bill. I think he'll be very successful!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Just like Tom DeMarco's Deadline almost two decades ago this is an absolute must read for everyone who's even remotely involved with IT, management, and operations in any kind of business in this day and age.

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Christensen

    I have to admit something, I love case studies. When a software development book starts throwing out "examples" of the methodologies being discussed, I tend to get interested in the story. I start paying closer attention. If they're well-written, I get very interested. Generally, I find myself wanting more. Naturally, I don't get this - the book is a dry technical reference on software development practices and not a novel. The fiction interspersed within is meant to keep you interested.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    I am not sure that everyone working in IT would benefit from this book. If you already work in a serious company, I think there is not much to takeout from this book that you not already do or know. Nonetheless, it presents some good practices for devops that would benefit anyone working in a problematic IT team in an easy to absorb way. It is just a novel that presents the "heroic" accomplishments of an IT team in a large company. It felt a bit exaggerating about what they did and how. Wha I am not sure that everyone working in IT would benefit from this book. If you already work in a serious company, I think there is not much to takeout from this book that you not already do or know. Nonetheless, it presents some good practices for devops that would benefit anyone working in a problematic IT team in an easy to absorb way. It is just a novel that presents the "heroic" accomplishments of an IT team in a large company. It felt a bit exaggerating about what they did and how. What I enjoyed from this book though is exactly this exaggeration on situations that felt quite realistic. Situations that, if you work in this industry, might have encountered. You feel so close to the characters that you just want them to be superheroes! At times it also made me laugh because a character was like describing me or one of my collegues. As a developer, I was not at all offended by some of the mocking comments of the IT people on our "tribe", on the contrary, I found them amusing (shoot me!) and revealing on how some IT people see us. In the end they worked all together for a bigger goal and I think this is the heart of devops anyway. Overall it was a nice read but you are warned not expect any mind blowing techniques and devops practices.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jacques Bezuidenhout

    I truly enjoyed this book and the way in which it was written. Written as a novel, I could feel parts of my life in the book. I could relate to various characters/roles from positions I've worked in. It also highlights things I've come to learn as problems. I think this is a great book, not only for IT professionals or managers, but for every manager in your business, and every IT/Dev employee to read. This will give you a better perspective on what is needed to I truly enjoyed this book and the way in which it was written. Written as a novel, I could feel parts of my life in the book. I could relate to various characters/roles from positions I've worked in. It also highlights things I've come to learn as problems. I think this is a great book, not only for IT professionals or managers, but for every manager in your business, and every IT/Dev employee to read. This will give you a better perspective on what is needed to succeed. It is not simply about doing your work, but communicating and working hand-in-hand with everyone else towards the common goal. What you might see as important, might mean nothing in the greater scheme of things. (view spoiler)[ Identifying and giving special attention to your constraints/bottlenecks are critical. And taking human error out of a process will not only make it faster, but make it more reliable. Learning from mistakes and putting preventative measures in place is key. Don't get caught up in unplanned or re-work. Planning and transparency is key. (hide spoiler)] Never blame failures on something/someone else. Take ownership. This books gets me excited to try make some changes in the way we work as well.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    A colleague of mine loaned me this book as we are going though deep discussions on how to adopt a DevOps model for our team's work. I'm already a believer in the methodology and I didn't need to be sold on it. He spoke highly of the book, and so this weekend I finally sat down to read it. But I was very skeptical. Very. A novel about IT? Ugh. I love to read. I love tech. I've worked in IT for more than a decade, but this did not seem like a good idea. I was wrong.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Connell

    Love this book for every reason I didn't think I would get out of it when I started it. Picked it up on a friend's rec. I've read other biz books including those that focus on IT, but what I really enjoyed with this one is that it told a story rather than lectured. About half-way through I switched from being entertained to thinking more about my process (creating an info product... an online video course) and how I can improve it. The story part of the book helped me personally because while I Love this book for every reason I didn't think I would get out of it when I started it. Picked it up on a friend's rec. I've read other biz books including those that focus on IT, but what I really enjoyed with this one is that it told a story rather than lectured. About half-way through I switched from being entertained to thinking more about my process (creating an info product... an online video course) and how I can improve it. The story part of the book helped me personally because while I get what you're supposed to be doing, the *process* part was my big takeaway. That's what I applied to my business and already reaping the rewards wiht many more things to experiment and implement. BTW... Sarah is a dumbass arrogant bitch and Bill should have told her that to her face on more than one occasion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Willian Molinari

    This is a great book for IT folks. In case you worked (or still works) in a big company with lots of ITIL things that holds the development, this book will be like home for you. It is a typical hero's journey and the characters are not so well developed (IMO) but the story is still good to follow. I've created many ideas for the ending and none of them were true, it made me give credits to the authors for not make it obvious. The book is a fictional novel but it This is a great book for IT folks. In case you worked (or still works) in a big company with lots of ITIL things that holds the development, this book will be like home for you. It is a typical hero's journey and the characters are not so well developed (IMO) but the story is still good to follow. I've created many ideas for the ending and none of them were true, it made me give credits to the authors for not make it obvious. The book is a fictional novel but it has some truth in it. ;)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kirill

    Amazing and remarkable read! As a novel it involves a good piece of fiction which makes reading so amusing and helps to present the lean ideas in a very refreshing way.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

    This is one of the most inspiring books I've read since "Deadline" from Tom DeMarco.

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