Review of The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win – by Gene Kim , Kevin Behr, George Spafford

Product DetailsA parable of life for IT folk, told from the point of view of mild-mannered Bill Palmer who is suddenly promoted out of his comfortable middle-management niche to Vice President of IT Operations. Then everything starts to go wrong.

The predicament that every IT leader faces is the need to simultaneously enable faster time to market while providing stable, secure and reliable IT services.
Granted, the novel draws an initial dark picture which is slightly overdramatized which is transformed to a place  with genuine collaboration and everybody can give their best contribution.  But this doesn’t take away any of its value, instead highlights a way the problems many organizations face and it shows another way is possible by promoting system thinking (over local optimization), feedback loops and a continuous learning culture.
This is one of the best books I’ve read on applying lean manufacturing processes to IT operations work.

Themes of the book

Reduce Work in Progress to improve flow

  • Visualise all the work in the IT department
  • Prioritise all IT projects relative to one another
  • Identify and monitor the bottlenecks / queues
  • Remove single knowledge points – by standardising and documenting tasks so more than one person can do the work or automate if possible.
  • Genuine collaboration
  • Mindeful utilisation and plan in some slacktime
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