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The First Year

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Fatima Akter
Fatima Akter

The Phoenix Project : A Novel About IT, DevOps,...

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Historically, a phoenix is a creature from Greek mythology that is commonly used as a metaphor for rebirth. In this book, the Phoenix is a complicated waterfall software development project that is viewed as a major 'project management fail' by the press.

Of course, this book could have been a non-fiction description of DevOps, but that would have been dry and uninteresting to most people. By putting the key elements into novel form, the authors make the technical concepts accessible to a larger audience, not just the technicians of the world but every kind of business leader. The entire C-suite has a part to play in the story as well as all the technical leaders. The authors are trying to teach a wide audience about some fundamental issues that DevOps addresses.

In the story, before the IT Ops leadership team adopted the DevOps strategy, they tried to manage all the work in a system by tracking deadlines. Years before, they paid for and deployed a very expensive ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) tracking system and relied on project managers to keep the system updated with detailed analysis of each of their projects. They never had the time to do that so the system failed miserably. By adopting the Kanban board system, the entire team could visualize the work moving through the system and make decisions about restricting or increasing the flow.

I think that the concept of DevOps is perhaps the most important innovation that has happened to the IT sector since the invention of the personal computer back in the early 1980s. By forcing IT leadership and network defenders alike to consider the production system as a whole, to get us out of our stovepipe concerns for our individual projects, and to make collective decisions for the good of the organization that we work for, the community has invented The Way of continuous improvement for all parties involved. IT practitioners are most likely aware of the concept but my guess is that many security practitioners are not. The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win is an introduction to the subject. I predict that, in 10 years, we will all be immersed in the DevOps philosophy. Because of the way that The Phoenix Project authors explain DevOps through the novel form, the ideas are much more accessible to non-IT people: CEOs, CFOs and, yes, CSOs. Because of that quality, it is a must-read book for all security professionals, and you should have read it by now.

I got the book "The Phoenix Project" - a novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, written by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford, as a gift. The CEO of the IT company I am currently working at gave it to me the moment he saw me looking at the book with my eyes wide open. Usually, I do have a sharp sixth sense for knowing what is worth holding on to, and considering the fact that the CEO is quite a bright man, I was very curious about what was brought to his attention.

The book The Phoenix Project. A novel about IT, DevOps, and helping your business win written by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford gives you great insights how to improve the success rate of your IT organization by transforming your organisation in a DevOps like organisation to deliver much faster (more than 10 deployments a day), still staying compliant and with less errors, the features your customers are asking for.

Essentially, the book is about how a company Parts Unlimited transforms to a DevOps culture. Not just because they are trying to be hip, but as a necessity for the survival of the company. The book is written as a novel and therefore easy to read. During the story, it turns out that an IT project has a lot in common with manufacturing plant work. A lot of what happens to the company and the main characters is so recognizable that it is almost scary I will not give an elaborate summary of the book, instead, I want to share some thoughts that came up to me when reading the book.

This may sound crazy for a novel about Information Technology (IT), but I even found myself getting choked-up in one scene where people from Ops, Product Engineering, and Information Security where all brainstorming ways to fix the flow of work through various stages of development. I think, at some point, we all fantasize about what we would do in a "dare to be great" moment. And, I think what this books illustrates is that "being great" really boils down to embracing human connections, cultivating empathy, and trying to understand the greater good. 59ce067264


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