A reading club with a view to the future

072 Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford: The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project presents a fictional account of how IT can transform and drive business success through DevOps practices.

Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford: The Phoenix Project


The Phoenix Project is a novel that follows Bill Palmer, a recently appointed VP of IT operations at Parts Unlimited, a struggling manufacturing company. Bill has been given a seemingly impossible task: to fix the company's failing IT system, which is causing significant delays and affecting the company's bottom line. With the help of a group of experts, including an enigmatic and charismatic IT guru, Bill learns about the principles of DevOps, a new way of thinking about IT that emphasizes collaboration, automation, and continuous improvement. Through trial and error, the team works to transform the company's IT systems and culture, ultimately leading to a more efficient and profitable business.


Title: The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Authors: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford

Publishing year: 2015

Publisher: IT Revolution Press

Length in hours: 14 hours and 46 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. DevOps is a collaborative approach to IT that emphasizes the need for developers and operations staff to work closely together in order to improve the efficiency and quality of IT systems.
  2. Automation is a key component of DevOps, as it allows for repetitive tasks to be done quickly and accurately, freeing up time for more important work.
  3. Continuous improvement is a central principle of DevOps, as it encourages teams to constantly evaluate and refine their processes and systems.
  4. Silos and bureaucracy can be significant obstacles to implementing DevOps practices, as they can inhibit collaboration and communication across different departments.
  5. The success of DevOps ultimately depends on a culture shift within an organization, with a focus on transparency, communication, and accountability.
Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford: The Phoenix Project

5 funny quotes

  1. "I mean, who doesn't love hearing that their entire department is about to be automated out of existence?"
  2. "It's like the plane took off from the airport with one wing attached with duct tape."
  3. "Jez's left eye twitched like a metronome, a clear sign he was becoming irritated."
  4. "We're trying to get IT to be more like the Beatles and less like Yoko Ono."
  5. "You're asking us to build a castle on a swamp."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "You build it, you run it, you fix it."
  2. "Any improvement not made at the constraint is an illusion."
  3. "DevOps isn't any particular person or job title. It is a methodology that includes cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that help an organization deliver applications and services at high velocity."
  4. "All parts of the business must be aligned around the goal of speed of delivery to the customer, and all work must be done with the understanding that anything that does not help speed delivery is waste."
  5. "The first step of fixing any problem is figuring out who should fix it."

5 dilemmas

  1. Should IT be viewed as a cost center or as a critical business function?
  2. How can a company balance the need for speed and innovation with the need for stability and security?
  3. How can different departments within a company be aligned around a common goal?
  4. How can legacy systems be modernized without disrupting the business?
  5. How can IT and business leaders communicate more effectively and work together to achieve their goals?

5 examples

  1. John, the IT manager who is resistant to change and skeptical of DevOps practices.
  2. Brent, the charismatic and unconventional IT guru who introduces Bill to DevOps principles.
  3. Patty, the software developer who is frustrated by the slow and bureaucratic pace of the IT department.
  4. Steve, the CFO who is initially skeptical of the investment in IT, but ultimately becomes a champion for change.
  5. Erik, the CEO who recognizes the importance of IT to the company's success and supports Bill's efforts to transform the department.

Referenced books

  1. "The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  2. "Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation" by James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones
  3. "Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation" by Jez Humble and David Farley
  4. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries
  5. "Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production" by Taiichi Ohno

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"You build it, you run it, you fix it."

Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford: The Phoenix Project
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