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The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Paperback – October 16, 2014
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From the Publisher
The Three Ways Explained | The Phoenix Project
In The Phoenix Project, we describe the underpinning principles that all the DevOps patterns can be derived from as 'The Three Ways'. It is intended to describe the values and philosophies that guide DevOps processes and practices.
The First Way is about the left-to-right flow of work from Development to IT Operations to the customer. To maximize flow, we need small batch sizes and intervals of work, never passing defects to down-stream work centers and to constantly optimize for the global goals (as opposed to local goals such as Dev feature completion rates, Test find/fix ratios or Ops availability measures).
The necessary practices include continuous build, integration and deployment, creating environments on demand, limiting work in process, and building safe systems and organizations that are safe to change.
The Second Way is about the constant flow of fast feedback from right-to-left at all stages of the value stream, amplifying it to ensure that we can prevent problems from happening again or enable faster detection and recovery. By doing this, we create quality at the source, creating or embedding knowledge where we need it.
The necessary practices include 'stopping the production line' when our builds and tests fail in the deployment pipeline, constantly elevating the improvement of daily work over daily work, creating fast automated test suites to ensure that code is always in a potentially deployable state, creating shared goals and shared pain between Development and IT Operations and creating pervasive production telemetry so that every-one can see whether code and environments are operating as designed and that customer goals are being met.
The Third Way is about creating a culture that fosters two things: continual experimentation, which requires taking risks and learning from success and failure and understanding that repetition and practice is the prerequisite to mastery.
Experimentation and risk taking are what enable us to relentlessly improve our system of work, which often requires us to do things very differently than how we’ve done it for decades. And when things go wrong, our constant repetition and daily practice is what allows us to have the skills and habits that enable us to retreat back to a place of safety and resume normal operations.
The necessary practices include creating a culture of innovation and risk taking (as opposed to fear or mindless order taking) and high trust (as opposed to low trust, command-and-control), allocating at least twenty percent of Development and IT Operations cycles towards non- functional requirements, and constant reinforcement that improvements are encouraged and celebrated.
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.
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The book incorporates outstanding illustrations of production, Lean principles, Agile concepts, project management and change management best practices, etc., etc. in an easily understandable way. Despite its size, the book keeps your attention from cover to cover. I couldn't put it down and read it in a matter of days - while in the midst of a big project and raising kids. Overall, it is an enjoyable read with plenty of applicable business concepts and practical wisdom.
Bill is a manager in the IT department who suddenly gets promoted to the VP because his boss and his bosses boss get fired. Not a nice position to be in. He'll need to get a grip on the IT mess that was left behind and the mess turns out to be bigger than he thought it was ever possible. He meets Erik who might become a new board member and Erik becomes his sensei and gradually explains Bill the "Three Ways" which gradually transforms the IT from being a cost-center to being an integrated part of the business.
I won't give away much more of the story. I enjoyed the story. At times it was a bit predictable. It does follow the stereotypical business novel patterns where someone needs to save the business and finds a teacher who gradually helps him step by step. It does a fairly good job and introducing key concepts around the devops movement and why this is important for organizations. I'd definitively recommend reading The Phoenix Project as it is insightful. 4 stars.