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The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win Hardcover – 10 Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 343 pages
  • Publisher: It Revolution Press (10 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988262592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988262591
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.1 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The Phoenix Project Bill is an IT manager at Parts Unlimited. It's Tuesday morning and on his drive into the office, Bill gets a call from the CEO. The company's new IT initiative, code named Phoenix Project, is critical to the future of Parts Unlimited, but the project is massively over budget and very late. The CEO wants Bill to report directly to him and fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill's entire department will be outsourced. With the help of a prospective board member and his mysterious philosophy of The Three Ways, Bill starts to see that IT work has more in common with manufacturing plant work than he ever imagined. With the clock ticking, Bill must organize work ...

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By jacw2000 on 14 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A parable of life for IT folk, told from the point of view of mild-mannered Bill Palmer who is suddenly promoted out of his comfortable middle-management niche to Vice President of IT Operations. Then everything starts to go wrong.

The payroll fails. This is a BAD thing. Trying to fix it, they mess up the SAN (storage area network), another bad thing. Bill and his team sit down to create a change management system to stop this from happening in the future. Then the auditors strike - to comply with the rules, they have to do something about a stack of issues six inches high. But they can't do that because the number one priority is Phoenix, which will save the company from bankruptcy (yet another bad thing).

Luckily Bill has the advice of Erik his mentor to fall back on, as well as his common sense. They beat back the dreaded auditors, help Phoenix limp into production, and introduce far better ways of doing things which rapidly overtake Phoenix and leave their competitors struggling in their wake. I say a parable, rather than a novel - the authors want you to behave in a certain way with your IT and so they show the mistakes to avoid and good practices for you to follow.

And surprisingly, I rather enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jonoble on 11 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you work in IT (heck, even if your business has any IT - so that's all of you), then you should read this book.

Regardless of your specific role, I'm certain that you'll learn something useful (and more importantly, actionable). I've changed my approach to doing a few things already based on lessons I've taken from the book and I still need to process some more ideas around how to do stuff better. I expect that I'll be reading it at least one more time through so that I don't miss anything that I could make use of.

One month ago, I'd never heard about this book. Of all the interesting and useful things that I took away from the Microsoft Global MVP Summit this November, I suspect that this will have the greatest impact. Fellow PowerShell MVP Steven Murawski often talks about DevOps and recommends this book in his presentations. He's such a fan of the book that he brought a bunch of copies to give out and I was very glad to receive one after hearing him extol its virtues.

Having read the first few chapters on the flight back from Seattle, on landing I purchased the Kindle edition from Amazon UK so that I could carry it around on my Kindle and phone in order to reduce the barriers to being able to consume it!

Personally, I love the approach that this book takes. By encompassing so much useful information about ITSM, DevOps methodologies and much more in a novel with an engaging storyline, I was able to read it much more easily and quickly that many of the dry technical texts that bog down our industry. I think that it also helped me to digest the information and apply it to my work situation more easily, even though I work in a significantly different type of organisation to that in the story.

The bottom line is that this isn't just a good book, it's an important book. You should read it at the first available opportunity. We'll all be the better for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By NB on 4 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As an IT management consultant, I've been trying to persuade IT to see itself as a factory production line for years. I even wrote a book about it myself. 'Phoenix' is needed, and it is right that it should go mainstream. I disagree with the 'Four Types of Work' because I think the author has left out reactive support and overcomplicates projects somewhat (hence four stars not five), but that notwithstanding, these ideas are essential. Unfortunately, ITIL will only get in the way of this because it is too technocratic. If ITIL doesn't change, to become more genuinely managerial instead of overstating process administration and calling it 'management', Agile and DevOps may render ITIL, and possibly Prince2, obsolete. This book points squarely at the future of IT.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charlie Halford on 6 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best book I've read on applying lean manufacturing processes to IT operations work. What makes is so great is that it is an expertly written, compelling story which leads you on a journey, rather than preaching dry theory.

Anyone with experience in IT will be utterly absorbed by the characters and situations in the story. On more than one occasion I felt like I was actually re-living past experiences, as the authors capture the relationships, motivations and consequences so accurately. With a background of failing IT established (which is made so real by shared experiences), the book slowly leads you through the main characters decision making process, showing you all the successes and failures he makes on the way to truly understanding how to manage the flow of work through his IT operations department.

Again, this book is brilliant, and should be a must-read for anyone either in IT, or in an origination supported by it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been working in IT for over 17 years and have experienced many industries and IT teams. I have seen some really good and many more not so good - mostly because they try very hard but don't seem to get any traction due to a lack of vision and leadership. When I started reading "The Phoenix Project" I found myself captured by the way the book described so perfectly the problems caused by years of poor leadership and IT governance and found myself willing them on to get it right and fascinated as to whether the solutions I had in my head would be what they implemented. I found it a really good reflective tool as a result - you get so bogged down in your own world that sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees - and this gave me some fresh new ideas to take certain problems I was facing forward. It was so good that I bought ten copies to pass around my peers in the project and development teams in a hope that concepts such as Kanban and the practice of planning and scheduling of projects by understanding resource constraints (both human and technological) could be illustrated better via the novel than via stilted attempts to demonstrate the concepts in real life.
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