Review: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr & George Spafford - The Phoenix Project

Wow. I have never read a non-fiction IT book before. The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win helps you understand what the value of IT is in modern organisations. While I have some doubts about the stories, I do like that as an IT guy I can relate to much of the problems presented.

Imagem de capa

Let’s have a look at The Phoenix Project.

Brief Recap

At Parts Unlimited, Bill Palmer gets a promotion. He gets an ungrateful job: VP of IT operations. Suddenly, he has to fix all the issues that are happening in the IT department. Quickly, he discovers the business side of his company wants all the projects done at the same time and is setting unachievable deadlines. Together with the colleagues he daily works with, he has a lot of discussions how to improve the IT processes of the company.

Apart from that, he must manage the IT department so that the Phoenix Project is finished in time and budget. And he has two weeks to do that. With the competition always one step ahead, it looks like Parts Unlimited is doomed in the retail market. That is, until Bill shows his teams the way. With the help of Erik, a potential board member, he learns plant processes like Kanban and how they can be used in IT.

As the business departments are angry because their projects are swept aside, Bill does everything he can to ensure IT is busy with the one thing that is most important to the business: the Phoenix Project. But can he manage it when his key resources are always stolen for hidden projects? Can he keep Steve, the CEO, happy and get IT back on track?

My Two Cents

Like I said, I’ve never read a non-fiction book about IT before. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book. I liked the story because a lot of the scenarios and issues that happen, are recognisable in any IT company. So it’s great to see how certain strategies and choices can help grow business by managing IT correctly.

What I missed in this story was… a good story. I mean, don’t get me wrong. This entire book is a long story about Bill facing a lot of IT related problems. But there’s not really a bad guy he needs to defeat. This book isn’t really about a quest – unless the quest for good IT management counts as one. So an actual story is something I missed in this book.


I was recommended this book on a SoCraTes – Software Craftsmanship and Testing – meetup a few weeks ago. I read it because I thought it was funny to have a novel about IT. The book proved to me that it can work. I learnt some ideas and some ways to handle different situations. Therefore, I rate this book 4 stars.

Have you read The Phoenix Project? Or any other book about IT lately? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!