July 29

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What you can learn from ‘The Phoenix Project’ by Gene Kim,Kevin Behr & George Spafford (2014, 338 pages)

How do you ensure that IT supports the business? How does your business transform in the digital age?

In the book ‘The Phoenix Project, the authors argue that closer integration of development, operations and risk provide a competitive advantage by enabling the other business functions to succeed.  The authors argue that the ‘Three Ways’ are essential to improving how IT support the business.

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The First Way focuses on the performance of the entire system and not the performance of a specific team or department.  By uncovering the value streams in the business that IT support, you can build the functionality in Development and then transitioned to IT Operations to run where the value is then delivered as a service.  The aim is to understand the whole system, never pass a defect to the next workcentre, not optimise one workcenter at the expense of the system, and always seek to increase workflow.

The Second Way ensures that there is a feedback between Development and Operations. The aim is to shorten the feedback loops so necessary corrections can be made as early as possible.  The aim is to ensure that IT can understand, and respond to internal and external customers, and ensure that knowledge gained is embedded.

The Third Way ensures that you can sustain the change by creating a culture of experimentation, and build expertise through repetition.  The aim is to focus as much on improving the daily work, as doing the daily work as well as allowing people to experiment and take risks that may make drastic improvements.

The ‘The Phoenix Project’,  mirrors the style of narrative writing ‘The Goal’ (published 1983) and takes you on the journey of Bill the VP of IT Operations.  The Three Ways are explained through Bill’s journey transforming the IT Division from an industry laggard into an industry leading force.

‘The Phoenix Project’ is a great book, you should read this book if you are interested in improving how IT support your business, through closer integration of Development and Operations.