Review of The Phoenix Project

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  • Well Structured
  • Background
  • Engaging


Information technology experts Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Stafford offer the basics of DevOps, an innovative IT management system that promotes collaboration and coordination among IT operations, software developers, and other business units as well as product owners. DevOps, a pragmatic approach to IT, is also an exciting philosophical movement that may change IT operations as much as the Toyota Production System revolutionized production lines in the 1980s. The authors structure their book as a business fable – indeed, a business parable – about how DevOps saves the fictitious auto parts company Parts Unlimited. getAbstract recommends this best-selling guide and its essential appendix, “The Phoenix Project Resource Guide,” which provides a detailed overview of DevOps and what it entails. If you work in IT or a related field, you’ll relish this entertaining, informative guidebook and compelling read.

About the Authors

Gene Kim is a multi-award winning chief technology officer, researcher and author. Kevin Behr founded the Information Technology Process Institute and is the general manager and chief science officer of Praxis Flow. George Spafford is a research director for Gartner.  


The authors frame their parable around a failing auto parts manufacturer and seller, Parts Unlimited. In deep trouble, it brings in a new vice president of IT operations, Bill Palmer. His initial reaction to his promotion is, “No, no, no. The last thing I want is a promotion.” Palmer’s unease was understandable. Parts Unlimited had gone through a squad of new chief information officers, each one lasting about two years. At Parts Unlimited, CIO stood for “Career Is Over.” Vice presidents of IT didn’t do much better. Palmer quickly became the subject of criticism from senior executives. But he turned out to be right for the job. After some trial and error, he instituted a DevOps system to get the firm’s business units, including software development and IT, working together smoothly and productively. This helped him turn the company around. 

Though business book parables can be irritating, this one flows naturally and presents a needed overview of DevOps before the book delves into functional details. The last eight chapters offer straight, useful reporting on DevOps, but the set-up requires you to weave through the parable to get to the meat – a vital, highly detailed, albeit technical rundown on DevOps.

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    E. S. 12 months ago
    A solid DevOps foundation book. Consider reading Accelerate and the DevOps Handbook for more recent reads and this as background.
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    J. A. 2 years ago
    I have read the book, which I would highly encourage for a great read! I come back to the summary once and a while to refresh myself on the concepts.