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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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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.
“The Phoenix Project is a must read for business and IT executives struggling with the growing complexity of IT.” —Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO, Red Hat, Inc.
"The Phoenix Project is a great way to get non-technical managers to understand what developers do. Every person involved in a failed IT project should be forced to read this book." —Tim O'Reilly, Founder & CEO, O'Reilly Media
"A must-read for anyone wanting to transform their IT to enable the business to win. Told through an absorbing story that is impossible to put down, the authors teach the essential lessons in an accessible way. Every business leader and IT professional should read this book!" -- Mike Orzen, co-author of the the Shingo Prize winning book Lean IT - Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation
"This book is a gripping read that captures brilliantly the dilemmas that face companies which depend on IT, and offers real-world solutions. As Deming reminds us, 'It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.' The Phoenix Project will have a profound effect on IT, just as Dr. Goldratt's book The Goal did for manufacturing." -- Jez Humble, co-author of the Jolt award-winning book Continuous Delivery and Principal at ThoughtWorks Studios
"This book is the modern day version of The Goal. Today, our constraints aren't robots inside our factories, but it's how we manage technologies like Tomcat and Java that power our most critical projects and applications. This book continues the journey that began with Shewhart, Deming, Ohno and Dr. Goldratt, and shows us how to diminish our modern constraints to help the business win." -- John Willis, VP Client Services and Enablement, enStratus, Host of "DevOps Cafe"
"This is the IT swamp draining manual for anyone who is neck deep in alligators." -- Adrian Cockcroft, Cloud Architect at Netflix
"This insightful walk through the pain and success of business will trigger deja vu for anyone who has ever run afoul of their complete reliance in their IT organization. I see my own experiences in every stage of the story." -- Dr. Thomas Longstaff, Program Chair, Computer Science, Engineering for Professionals, The Johns Hopkins University
About the Author
Gene Kim is a multiple award winning CTO, researcher and author. He was founder and CTO of Tripwire for 13 years and has worked with some of the top Internet companies on improving deployment flow and increasing the rigor around IT operational processes. In 2007, ComputerWorld added Gene to the "40 Innovative IT People Under The Age Of 40" list, and was given the Outstanding Alumnus Award by the Department of Computer Sciences at Purdue University.
Kevin Behr is the founder of the Information Technology Process Institute (ITPI) and the Chief Strategist for the CIO and Board Advisory Practice at Assemblage Pointe, where Kevin has built a unique consulting practice that mentors and coaches IT organizations to increase their business effectiveness and competitive advantage now and over the long term through the application of improvement sciences.
George Spafford is a Research Director for Gartner covering process improvement in IT operations that leverage best practice references. He is a prolific author and speaker, and has consulted and conducted training on strategy, IT management, information security and overall service improvement in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and China.
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Frequently, I work with customers stuck in the same muck & mire described in these pages and have lived through it in my past life. The "stuck" IT pros I work with now regard terms like Cloud & DevOps as more techno-hype that will fail to deliver - and I understand their skepticism. What The Phoenix Project does is contextualizes the practical employment of the DevOps philosophy, and the promise for restoring faith & order in IT. If you are looking to re-energize your IT career, understand DevOps, or simply need a good read for your next bit of biz travel, I recommend this book.
How often have you longed for a way to articulate the business value of IT and how to integrate into the fabric of all other business functions? What business doesn't utterly rely on IT? Yet, how many still regard IT as at best, a cost center, and at worst, a roadblock? The Phoenix Project shows a way out of this cycle of pain, either by re-vamping your current IT department infrastructure, or by showing you the infrastructure of an IT organization that really works, so you can seek one out in your next job!
I mean it. Ouch! There are not many things I read that cause me to have a physical reaction, but "The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" did just that. It felt like a punch in the gut. I started sweating, I felt like I was going to throw up. And if you have ever worked in an IT shop with big problems you may have the same visceral reaction I had. Authors Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford definitely know what they are writing about.
You know it's going to be a good story when it begins with our hero, Bill, being summoned to HR to be told that the CIO and VP of IT Operations are no longer with the company. And when our hero tries to do anything he can to get out of accepting his promotion to VP of IT Operations you know it's going to be a REALLY good story. Suffice it to say things get a lot worse before they start to get better.
The cast of characters, although somewhat stereotyped, is one that anyone in IT will find familiar. From Mr. Wisecrack to Ms. Scheming Marketing VP, to the security and compliance guy who makes sure operations grind to a halt--we have known them all. The next six months are devastating for some, transformative for others. Our hero is guided along the way by a mysterious Yoda-like management consultant in a tee-shirt who teaches Bill to re-imagine himself and the role of IT in an organization.
And that's the real message of this book. This is not just a compelling story of an IT nightmare, it's an instruction book for change. The story leads us down the path of the Three Ways into an understanding of DevOps. The true mission is "to show how IT can regain the trust of the business and end decades of intertribal warfare." Can this actually happen for us out here in the real world? Only if we read this book and try.
Many think that lean/Agile work only within development groups. This book shows a different picture. This book shows how to embrace change by working together rather than against each other. Many will find this idea at odds with the traditional IT management and delivery process.
I am very acute in the Agile/Lean circles & this book reinforced many of the ideas and experiences I had. This book introduces the concept of DevOps in a very good way. Most of the time the technology is not the problem, we have to think the system as a whole (system thinking), improve the communication and collaboration; Improve the feedback cycles and make the feedback cycles as short as possible for optimal learning ; create culture of continuous change and learning . From project inception to delivery there should be continuous flow with lot of frequent feedback cycles.