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What to Read: The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

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July 01, 2016
What to Read
Jeremy TerBush

What's On the Bookshelf
Over the years, we’ve had numerous conversations with industry leaders and often one of the topics that we discuss is the latest book read. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what our industry leaders are reading.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford
[Review by Jeremy TerBush, Wyndham Destination Network]

The main character Bill has just been promoted to the unenviable position of VP of IT operations. He reluctantly accepts the position and quickly learns just how dysfunctional the management of IT is within the organization. The authors do a masterful job of developing characters that will immediately resonate with you if you work with or within IT in your organization. There is the marketing VP who totally disrespects IT, the compliance guy who has no comprehension of the strain his audits put on the business, the CEO who doesn’t invest enough time to understand IT well enough to manage it properly, and many more. The tension among all these constituents is humorously developed around a large-scale project that the company must deliver in order to stay competitive in its market.

Throughout the story Bill receives guidance from Eric, a mysterious character who evolves Bill’s thinking of IT work by teaching him about lean principles that make the shop floor run efficiently. Bill applies the concepts to his operations group and gains buy-in for broader adoption within the IT organization and ultimately transforms the group into a highly functioning organization.

Since reading the book I’ve had many discussions with my colleagues in IT who are currently moving to a more agile approach to development, and I realized that I really learned a lot of useful information from this enjoyable book. If you have any involvement with IT, I highly recommend this fun and insightful technical novel. You will laugh and learn as the pages turn!

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