This work is a sequel to Kim’s other novel The Phoenix Project. Although the books fit together, they need not be read together. In other words, both books are self-standing. This work – essentially about dealing with the software industry in an age of constant change – does an even better job than The Phoenix Project at highlighting how businesses can adapt to and thrive in the digital era.
The book is set in an auto-parts company. Parts Unlimited has been a mainstay of industry since World War I, but they are consistently out of step with rising technology and the generation that uses it. The protagonist Maxine and her band of good people (called “the Rebellion”) seek to change Parts Unlimited back to being a pace-setting in its industry. In so doing, Kim provides them as an example of how an industrial-age company can adapt itself to the era of digital technology.
As in any good book, there is drama, and there are evildoers. Like in all good stories, some of the evildoers become redeemed. Being divided into three parts, this book seemed to lag in the third part. The third part mainly tells the story of Maxine and the Rebellion’s successes in the auto-parts industry. Frankly, I don’t much care for the auto-parts industry; I care for the characters in the book more. This section lacked drama amongst the characters and thus did not grip my attention as much as the other two sections.
Still, Kim achieves his primary goal. He illustrates how to adapt digital principles (still of a DevOps ilk, but more general in this book) to modern business management. He does so in a manner that is more entertaining than most management books and that is more in line with Socratic teaching methods of storytelling and dialog. I note that this book is currently on Amazon.com’s best-seller lists. I anticipate it will stay there for a long while.