The Phoenix Project – My Takeaways

The book tells the story of how collaboration is built between IT and business in a company which has reached the point in its growth, when the size of the company became a problem and is suffering from lack of collaboration between teams, a blame culture, imposing tools over collaboration, power games, etc.

Reading the book we can learn a lot about Kanban, Improvement Kata, Continuous Delivery,  Risk-Adjusted Value Model, Chaos Monkey and many more.

The starting plot is the chaos in the company’s life, which is so well-written, that I felt the pain, I saw how impossible it was to get the work properly done. I felt thankful for not having a working environment like this.

My actual personal favourite quote is:

We can outsource the work, but not the responsibility.

My company is outsourcing some testing activities, and we already have experiences that can be added to our lessons learnt book.


Quick notes taken from the book:

Different types of work

Four types of work are being recognized during the story:

  • Planned Work
    new features
  • Internal Projects
    server migrations, software updates, etc
  • Changes
    driven by feedback on already completed work
  • Unplanned Work
    support escalations, emergency outages, aka firefighting

Firefighting is the most disruptive type of work. This is what prevents from getting from A to B.

SWAT team is created who reacts to all incoming unplanned work.

For work visualization they introduce Kanban. How they describe it made me remind of my favourite Kanban book: Priming Kanban.

Improvement Kata

Improving daily work is more important than doing daily work.
It doesn’t important what you improve until you improve something.

Repetition creates habits, and habits are what enable mastery! Whether you’re talking about sports training, learning a musical instrument, or training in the Special Forces, nothing is more to mastery than practice and drills. Studies have shown that practicing five minutes daily is better than practicing once a week for three hours.
And if you want to create a genuine culture of improvement, you must create those habits.

I was googling for coaching kata, and have found the questions to be asked at each step:

Five Coaching Kata Questions

Other Quotes

To tell the truth is an act of love. To withhold the truth is an act of hate. Or worse, apathy.
Having people give you honest feedback is a rare gift.

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