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Book Review: The Phoenix Project

Book Review: The Phoenix Project

President’s Message

I recently read The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford.  It is written as a fable similar to The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni and when it was published it quickly reached #1 in its categories.

In the story, Bill Palmer is promoted to VP of IT Operations at Parts Unlimited and he must work with the rest of IT and the business to deliver a critical initiative code-named Phoenix.  The project is way over schedule and budget and must be delivered as quickly as possible to prevent the IT department from being outsourced and to save the business.

Even though this is a fictitious business novel, when I read the story it actually raised my stress level as things continuously went wrong in IT Operations, development and the PMO.  It reminded me of many projects I have worked on in my career in roles such as Help Desk Analyst, Developer, QA Tester, Systems Analyst, Business Analyst, Project Manager, Management Consultant, Project Director and CEO of Annex.

Bill Palmer realizes over time, with the help of a mentor, that IT Operations has similarities to a traditional manufacturing process.  He implements improvements in work flow, priority setting, communication between IT groups, and collaboration between IT and the business on his way to understanding The Three Ways of working.  The book does a nice job of introducing Lean, Agile and DevOps concepts.

This is a good book for anyone who wants to understand DevOps.  It is a recommended read for DevOps professionals, IT operations specialists, developers, IT managers, PMO managers, and business leaders who want to improve their understanding of IT.



Stacey Cerniuk

Founder, President & CEO

Annex Consulting Group Inc.


Stacey has read more than 150 non-fiction books over the last decade.  For a list of his favourites, email him at

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