The Phoenix Project

I wanted to read this book for some time. I thought it was going to be a technical book but it was a novel and felt like a thriller! and IT thriller if you can believe it. While I was reading it, I felt quite tense at some points, like, “I have been there!”. Although I am not a developer, I felt the pain mentioned in the book. I have been like that I spend many years in a good devops environment. When I started there, I didnt have a clue what devops menat but I learnt on the job training. I wish the networks world could be more “devops” but as we nearly always relay in 3rd party vendors to provide equipment, they always want you to lock in their product. Still, it is possible, but you need to have the drive (and time) and some support from your employer.

One of the things that surprise me from the devops methodology is that is based in manufacturing. I read in the past about Kaizen but now, I can see the connection. One of the main references is the book, The Goal.

And another very important point, nothing of these things work if people are not on board. You can have the smartest people around but if people dont buy in, nothing is accomplished.

So I like the idea of quick iterations (return of investment is received by the company and customer sooner) where you get earlier feedback, interactions and communication between all teams, awareness for the business that IT is everywhere, constant testing/experimentation (chaos monkey, antifragility), kanban boards / flow models to visualize process and constraints (WIP), constant learning, etc.

It was interesting at some point in the book where the main characters where interviewing the top people in the company to gather info about what is important for them and what means successful results and bad days. Then map all that to IT process. From there you can see what is clearly important and what is not. So you can focus in value.

Other things I learned is about the types of work we do:

  • Business projects
  • Internal projects
  • Changes
  • Unplanned work

And that unplanned work is the killer for any attempt to have a process like a manufacturing plant.

As well, based on “The Goal”, there are a lot of mentions about the “Three Ways”:

  • Find your constraint: maximize flow -> reduce batch, reduce intervals, increase quality to detect failures before moving to next steps.
  • Exploit your constraint: fast and constant flow of feedback.
  • Subordinate your constraint: high-trust culture -> dynamic, disciplined and scientific approach to experiment and risks.

In summary, I enjoyed the book. It was engaging, easy to digest and I learned!