Saturday, February 28, 2015

Not my ordinary style of book but I really enjoyed it - "The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win"

I didn't feel like reading any of the books on my currently reading list and "The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" was in my Kindle queue (probably bought it off this CISO reading list and forgot about it.  I do that)  Anyway, even though I don't normally read business books, this one was really interesting, both in format and in content.

Format - Basically the book is structured as a novel in which the protagonist is the VP of IT Operations at a large manufacturing company.  He takes over during the midst of a major application development and deployment cycle and quickly discovers that his department is both falling apart and taking the rest of the company with it.  Through a series of conversations with a mysterious stranger and a series of events in which he tries various solutions gradually he resolves the departments issues and becomes instrumental in returning the company to profitably, and incidentally vanquishing the beautiful, but evil, blonde female (probably a Nazi) VP of Marketing, Ilsa Sarah.

This isn't totally original, structurally I would say it's similar to The Defense of Duffer's Drift, Armor Attacks , or State of Fear in that there is a discussion among the characters of some sort of problem and lo and behold an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained presents itself.  Basically if you went thru school in the 60s or 70s you recognize this.  It's programmed instruction, but it is the first time I have seen the technique used in this particular context.

Content - Here I am not talking so much about the actual story, I pretty much covered that above, but about the business processes that make up the background to the story.  There are lots of books out there about things like Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Sarbanes-Oxley, and ITIL and frankly they are all boring.  What this book manages to do is both tie them together in a way which provides a basic primer, and shows how they realte to IT operations, and does so in a way that it's actually fairly enjoyable to read.

None of the topics are covered in depth, with enough depth that you can gain an appreciation of them and some guidance on how to pursue them further.

Honestly I never thought I would be considering buying a book on Kanban boards but know I am suddenly interested in them, I guess you could say that makes this book successful.

Conclusion - If you work in IT buy the book and read it.  You will probably get something out of it and if you buy it from one of my links I get something like $0.08.


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