Book You Should Read: The Phoenix Project, A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

As mentioned in my Learning section of the About page, I briefly discuss owning an Amazon Kindle, having owned a Kindle now for a couple of years I have read quite a bit more books than I was expecting to have. One of these books is The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win.

This post will basically just contain a basic description of the book, any relevant reviews that I think will be useful in deciding whether or not to buy the book and highlighted quotes from my time reading the book (another useful feature of the Kindle).


“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.”


Passages I’ve Highlighted

  • “The 80/20 rule likely applies here: Twenty percent of the changes pose eighty percent of the risk.”
  • Unplanned work is what prevents you from doing it. Like matter and antimatter, in the presence of unplanned work, all planned work ignites with incandescent fury, incinerating everything around it.
  • You’ve just described ‘technical debt’ that is not being paid down. It comes from taking shortcuts, which may make sense in the short-term. But like financial debt, the compounding interest costs grow over time. If an organization doesn’t pay down its technical debt, every calorie in the organization can be spent just paying interest, in the form of unplanned work.”
  • “every work center is made up of four things: the machine, the man, the method, and the measures.
  • ‘Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work.’
  • Studies have shown that practicing five minutes daily is better than practicing once a week for three hours. And if you want to create a genuine culture of improvement, you must create those habits.”
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