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Book Review: The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

Recently, I finished reading The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win book.

Unlike my standard type of reviews (see my Technical and Non-Technical book reviews), where I list which chapters were most helpful, and provide my notes/highlights for each, this review will be nothing like that.

Firstly, I wanted to mention that (in case it’s not apparent), I am what is commonly referred to as an IT Pro.

And with that in mind, I had heard of this specific book many times before, but never really had an interest in reading it. I had the bias/stereotypical mentality of “I don’t want to read a book about Development / Developers. I’m an IT Pro, not a Dev.”

It wasn’t until I started exploring the world of DevOps, that I came to the realization and understanding that, to be a part of DevOps doesn’t mean I have to forego the IT Pro arena that I love to work in. Being an IT Pro, and increasing your value to your organization through learning DevOps, means that you still can stay in that arena, but you become an enabler instead of a hindrance.

Case in point, as the examples and storyline point out in this book, it is all too common for a Development team to pass off their code/build to IT Ops for deployment into Production; and it is way too common that something just doesn’t work. And in a traditional approach, there is pointing of fingers, and probably some name calling. Something to the effect of…

IT Ops: Your code is broken!

Dev: You servers are not configured right!

But to embrace DevOps as an IT Ops person means that you do need to understand (to some degree) the Developer world and terminology. It also means that you need to be able to take the Developer’s requirements and translate that into Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), and Configuration-as-Code (CaC).

I must say, I could not put this book down! I just wanted to keep reading, to find out what would happen next, and how the fundamental changes to the IT organization would come about.

After reading this book, it made me want to look for more / better ways to integrate with other teams (i.e. Security) and be more inclusive in discussions (rather than take a Us vs Them mentality).

It is my strong personal opinion that every person in IT Ops should read this book.

If you are interested in learning more about DevOps, with some real-world hands-on labs, I highly recommend the OpenEdX Microsoft Professional Program in DevOps. Even if you are not a developer, it will open your eyes and mind to how our two worlds (Dev and Ops) need to combine to create the future.

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