The Phoenix Project

I recently stumbled upon a novel that talks about managing IT Operations. “The Phoenix Project”, by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford. Wow, what a great read. This book accurately describes many of my experiences in IT with many different companies.

This book has some exceptional concepts around optimizing interaction between Development, IT Operations, and the customer. The book pushes the reader (and fictional characters) to visualize development and IT Operations as a factory floor, using the same terminology to analyze dis-function. Each station includes: machine, man, method, measure. These components can be used to optimize work flow, find bottlenecks, and improve overall efficiency of the factory or deveopment/IT Operations space.

The Three Ways

The First Way: Left to right workflow from development to IT Operations to the Customer. Small batch sizes and intervals of work. Reduce WIP or inventory of tasks.

The Second Way: Constant feedback from right to left at all stages.

The Third Way: Creating a culture that fosters continual experimentation (risk) and understanding that repetition and practice is the prerequisite to mastery.

The Four Types of Work

Business projects: Business initiatives, tracked and PM’d.

Internal IT projects: Infrastructure or IT projects.

Changes: Scheduled updates, releases, etc.. — configuration management.

Unplanned work or recovery work: Production issues, unplanned incidents or problems that disrupt the above 3 types of work.

As a DevOps consultant, I can immediately use these concepts to improve the value that I provide to each client by working with these concepts as a guide.

I highly recommend this book.

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