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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2013
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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on 4 December 2013
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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on 11 December 2013
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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on 6 June 2014
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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on 12 September 2014
I was curious how this book would work, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Yes, it's an idealised view, things happen quickly, and perhaps without all the battles and setbacks that would happen in real life, but it's a business book, not Tolstoy! If you want a view of how lean concepts can be applied to and transform an IT organisation and it's standing in the business, this is an easy and fun read.
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on 25 November 2015
If you work in IT of any sort, you’ll love this book. You’ll spend the first few chapters clearly relating to each and every person often thinking to yourself “I know that guy”. This is a clever story about a fictitious parts company and the burden/issues face through their (mis)use of IT. The book focuses on a newly appointed head of IT and his small team and how he adopts various DevOps approaches to solve long-standing IT issues.
I thought this was a really smart mix of factual IT problems and fictitious storytelling. It’s a really enjoyable and relatable read that I would certainly recommend.
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on 18 January 2013
Coming from an Operations background I found myself laughing throughout reading this. Chapter after chapter I could place myself in the situations Bill found himself in.

The books character personification has to be said was nothing less than fantastic. I suspect many will read this and say, "he sounds an awful lot like ..."

I think The Phoenix Project is equally important to Business as it is IT. There are similarities in the ethos between Escape Velocity's Horizons 1,2 & 3 as there are The Phoenix Projects 1st,2nd & 3rd ways. I certainly found that the commonalities were ground breaking and the book signifies proof of a breakdown of barriers between IT and the Business; united by a common goal.

It is a very good read and I have already recommended this to colleagues in Business, Operations, and Development as it reinforces the principle of seek first to understand.

A Great combined effort.
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on 13 October 2015
nearly gave it 3 stars, but feeling generous. Its an interesting read based on a ficticious company who goes, possibly without knowing it, down the DevOps road, and sees massive productivity benefits as a result. It won't teach you 'how' to do DevOps and it certainly doesn't talk product, but it does raise a wry smile on this old IT pros face as he's seen so many of the calamities this book steers through and out of.
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on 7 June 2015
I bought this on the recommendation of a colleague, during an excellent DevOps workshop with one of our clients.

It's a great read, comprising the insights and qualities of a text book with the entertainment and plot of a novel.

I'd strongly recommend this to anyone looking to gain an insight into DevOps, as this provides one with the background ( problem statement ) and the solution.

The book assumes no prior experience, and provides a great introduction to the subject, whilst providing additional context in the arena of manufacturing, Agile, Lean and Stop-the-line.
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on 8 May 2016
Bought this for my less technical partner who was taking a job in project management in a technical context, on the off chance the lessons would be applicable to an organisation which aspired to be Lean. I was surprised that my partner found it a compulsive page turner and four months into the role still says the lessons behind the story were very useful.
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