Books: “The Phoenix Project” and “The Unicorn Project”

by Gene Kim , Kevin Behr, and George Spafford, 2013 => 2018 – A novel about IT, DevOps, and helping your business win

by Gene Kim, 2019 – A novel about developers, digital disruption, and thriving in the age of data

“Essential books for understanding the DevOps movement and its Lean inspirations, in a novel format that perfectly complements the DevOps Handbook.”

What I Liked The Most

  • The effectiveness of the storytelling format. We identify easily with the characters and remember similar or close situations.
  • Introduction of theoretical principles using scenarios and practical situations.
  • Two companion novels, telling the same story from Ops (Bill) and Dev (Maxine) points of view.
  • Human and cultural challenges involved in such transformation.
  • Risks of using a ticketing system for communication versus going and meeting each other.
  • Psychological safety and blameless culture to ensure that things will improve.

What Important Lessons I Learned

  • IT work has a lot in common with manufacturing plant work.
  • Theory of constraints, identify and resolve your most important bottleneck (like a dependency to an expert: Brent), one at a time.
  • To improve planned work, unplanned work must be reduced to a minimum. Pay down technical debt as a part of daily work.
  • The Three Ways (Phoenix project), The Five Ideals (Unicorn project), and The Three Horizons from Geoffrey Moore.
  • Focus improvement initiatives on achieving business goals. Be able to measure and demonstrate business and customer value.


#storytelling #theoryofconstraints #leanthinking #devops #technicaldebt #threeways #fiveideals #customervalue

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