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Showing posts from January, 2014

What I learnt from the Phoenix Project

Having just read this book - The Phoenix Project - A Novel About IT, DevOps and Helping your Business Win - Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford -  I'm keen to express exactly what I learnt so I don't forget its important messages.

The book follows Bill, a "Director of Midrange Technology Operations" who is forced into a more senior role of "VP of IT Operations".  As soon as he is given this job he's on the back foot trying to work out why stuff keeps breaking.  As the book goes on, we get the impression of an IT department stumbling around from disaster to disaster in complete and utter disarray.  Bill guided by his khaki pants guru Erik, turns the place around.

Here's what I learnt...

Find your bottlenecks - The books message here is that any improvement made anywhere besides the bottleneck is wasted.  This makes perfect sense and comes from comparing IT to a manufacturing pipeline and applying the Theory of Constraints.  Not only does it make pe…

The more people contribute to a team's output, the closer they should be to the team.

Everyone contributing to an IT project, ideally needs to be on the team responsible for delivery.  When this isn't possible, the more they contribute the closer they need to be to the team. 

The above point probably seems obvious to the point of being redundant to most people.  I'm sure that many teams (like mine) are structured with a healthy enough mix of skills that they can be mostly self-sufficient. With our team of testers, developers, infrastructure people etc etc I too would have thought we had this base more than covered. 

However, beware that contributors to a team's output come in many different guises.  I feel that we recently suffered on a project due to a key contributor being very distant from the team.

The project involved adding a new user journey to ft.com.  The UX team had designed a user journey, in isolation from the development team, which we were to implement.  The user journey that had been created was great, however, the team had another idea whi…