The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Reviewed on , book by Gene Kim

Working in infrastructure, it’s not always easy to explain the value beyond “we try to make sure the site is up.” However, there’s a huge productivity aspect to infrastructure. When you look at large tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon—they’ve spent a tremendous amount of engineering making it faster to engineer on the inside than on the outside. This book goes through the history of a company on the brink of failing, to pushing new process and life into the operational aspect; turning the company around. I didn’t nearly like it as much as “The Goal,” which is more widely applicable and anecdotally superior. It’s a little too similar to The Goal in the structure, but it’s just so specific and relatable it’s hard for me not to give it four stars. I’d love for the teams we work closest with outside of Infrastructure to give this a read (Recruiting, HR, Finance, and so on) to increase their understanding of the infrastructure and operations arm of a company—it remains to be seen whether it can fill that purpose. It’s also important to place this book in a historical context. When it was written, the struggles of the divide between operations and developers were incredibly common in the industry. Today, the mentality put forward in the book are quite common in modern tech companies. I’ve only seen a few years of the ops/dev divide, and it’s certainly because of a movement that the authors beyond this book and the DevOps cookbook that we have a different model today.