Living the Phoenix - A book review of Gene Kim's "The Phoenix Project"

51rMT69p7rL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgWhen's the last time you read a book on technology which was a page-turner? As I recall the mountains of 'computer books' I've read over the years I struggle to recall one that had me saying "hold on, just one more page" (once to a flight attendant who wasn't very happy with me) as often as I did reading Gene Kim's "The Phoenix Project".

 

The fact is, you don't need to read me gushing about the book to want to go read it yourself - everyone that's read it has had nothing but fantastic things to say, and most would agree it's an absolute must read if you ever want to be taken seriously in the IT Management world... but for me, this book is deeper than that. Why you ask? Because like many people that read this book - I feel like I know these characters.

 

We've all worked for a completely dysfunctional IT organization where the role of IT is to just ... "get it done" and worry about the cost later. We all have worked at jobs where technology was the business's ...well ...bi**h, right? (you'll have to pardon my frankness). The Phoenix Project offers those that have been there, been beaten down and exhausted hope. That hope is priceless.

 

Gene perfectly nails the way that organizations fundamentally don't understand change, or that most professionals in IT can't identify the 4 types of work, and the 4 components of a work center. We just "do IT" and don't think about it - but Gene believes that we should strive for better.

 

As I flew through the book furiously turning page after page I learned more than I did in many years of working around Six Sigma. That's the magic of Gene's writing ... you're learning and earmarking pages and taking notes as you turn page after page and cheer Bill on... heck I found myself literally on the edge of my seat a few times and disgusted when things didn't quite work out. It grabbed me that much. This book was as much a learning experience, as it was a fantastic novel. The book literally walks you through from the painful and miserable state that many IT professionals accept as status quo to where we can all aspire to - and gives you a roadmap for how to get there.

 

To me, the real phoenix in this book is John the CISO. Once you read the book you'll understand why I believe this, but essentially it's the classic case of being burned in the fires to emerge a beautiful creature. Even though John isn't the centerpiece of the book, as a security professional I can relate and understand his plights, his triumphs, and hope to achieve his successes.

 

The short version here is, this book is going to be required reading for anyone that works on my team going forward. It should be required reading for your teams as well...that is once you're done marking pages, and taking notes. This book is a roadmap on how IT can be the phoenix and rise from the ashes to truly lead the enterprise.

 

I've yet to be a Bill ... but I know what I'm aspiring to...

Labels: book review
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