The cover of The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project

A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

by George Spafford, Gene Kim, Kevin Behr

One of my favorite business books is The Goal. The Phoenix Project is like The Goal, but a little more specialized for tech.

The first half of the book covers a manager’s journey to wrangling with the chaotic nature of large-scale IT teams. (Aside: that the book uses “IT” as the catchall phrase for the engineering organization is a marker of its age — but its lessons are still applicable to today’s world, where IT is just a tiny department in charge of people’s laptops.) The key points — maintain flow, make work visible, limit work in progress, etc — are incredibly salient and applicable to design teams just as much as they are to developer teams.

The second half of the book focuses more specifically on DevOps as a practice. When The Phoenix Project was written, DevOps was a much more novel concept. But today, it’s pretty well taken for granted. This means that the insights and advice given in this latter half aren’t quite as applicable as the general principles given earlier.

Overall, highly recommended for anyone in tech.