Following article is a review of Audiobook: Beyond the Phoenix Project. By Gene Kim and John Willis. Including my thought on the goal of this „book” and its table of content.
This is a rare case because Beyond the Phoenix Project is not a book but an audiobook/podcast. Basically 7 hour-long dialogue between author of Phoenix Project Gene Kim and His Friend and co-Author of DevOps Handbook Jhon Willis. *Note* for simplicity case from time to time I will refer to this project us a book.
Beyond The Phoenix Project -Table of Content
First, I will start with the Table of Content. While doing my research before buying this book and later for this article, I wasn’t able to find one. So I think someone may find it useful.
Table Of content
- The Phoenix Project
- Toyota Family (Lean)
- Safety Culture
- Learning organizations
- Lean, Safety and Learning from Experts.
- Case Studies
What the goal of Beyond the Phoenix Project?
I think the most straightforward explanation would be to say this book is a Behind Scenes content for The Phoneix Project.
At first, it may seem that it is just collections of trivia stories about people that lead to the creation of DevOps.But that is not the case. The theme of Beyond the Phonix Project is simple. *”Never stop learning. Never stop looking for solutions even outside of your domain.”* And the whole books is about it.
Goal vs Phoenix Project
Starting from First Chapters which explains how The Phoenix Project came to be and why it was so heavily influenced by „The Goal”.
I think in this section, a crucial point was made.
Before you start looking for a solution you need to understand the problem. That’s why in The Phoenix Project spent about 170 pages presenting the issues before heroes began to look for solutions
Then discussion Seemlesly moves to chapters discussing Research of the Giants on which shoulders DevOps is standing.
And I think this is the most interesting concept of this audiobook, Authors cover lots of ground and switch from topic to topic, but you are never lots, every new point subject is connected to what was already mentioned in the previous part.
For example, in the first chapters, the authors highlighted how vital „The Goal” was for writing this book. So naturally, the next chapter is about doctor Goldratt, and how his research affected DevOps. Where we learn about doctor Deming and how its all connect to him, so obviously the next chapter is about Deming.
I love history, I have no head to dates, but I like to listen about the event of the past that shaped the current day. But I even if you don’t care about the history these chapters have a lot to offer, For example, an explanation of the Deming system of profound knowledge.
Next Section author seamlessly moves to discuss movements and methodologies that influenced DevOps starting with
Toyota Family and how they shaped Lean. It was a fascinating part, especially when you could see how Toyota Family (indirectly) stand on Shoulders of Deming and how they were finding inspirations everywhere (including small shops in America visited by accident).
Concepts and Case Studies
From there, we move more into the area of concepts:
Safety Culture, Learning Organizations. Each is discussed in detail explaining their importance in the creation of a place where innovation at speed can happen. What was also a nice touch that authors dedicated the whole chapter to explaining how those concepts should work together?
Last but not least important part of the book is the Case studies.
In my opinion that section wasn’t necessary, don’t take me wrong case studies are essential but authors don’t say much new here that they weren’t covered in their other books DevOps Handbook and Accelerate. In my opinion, if you read those books, you can skip this chapter.
Overall, Beyond the Phoenix project is an excellent supplementary material. I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting point for your DevOps learning journey, that not its goal. Its exists to help you. That is why I have added this position to my book recommendations.