Book Notes : The Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is in a story form following someone who has just been promoted and he is trying to deal with a whole lot of different problem but the biggest in The Phoenix Project.  Ignoring the plot the book looks at the following:

The four different types of work

  1. Business projects
  2. Internal projects
  3. Operational changes
  4. Unplanned work (the silent killer which is usually very urgent and very important displacing planned work)

The three ways

The First Way : System Thinking

Here it is about looking at the system as a whole and realising that value does not exist until something is available to the customer.  Thinking at the whole level it is important not to pass known defects downstream, not to let local optimisations make the whole system worse, allows you to look at increasing flow and achieve a full understand of the system as a whole value chain.

The Second Way : Amplified Feedback Loops

Here the aim is to produce learning and build up knowledge, by shortening and amplifying the feedback loops as well as understanding and being able to respond to customers both internal and external.  Realising that value is only delivered when they get to the customer.

The Third Way : Culture of Continuous Experimentation and Learning

This is to build an organisation which is able to take risks and thus experiment.  This learning can build a more resilient and dynamic organisation.  This allows time for the improvement of daily work, creating rituals that reward the team for taking risks and introducing faults into the system to increase resilience.

Theory of Constraints – The Five Focusing Steps

  1. Identify the current constraint
  2. Exploit, make quick improvements to the throughput of the constraint using existing resources.
  3. Subordinate, review all other activities in the process to ensure that they are aligned with and truly support the needs of the constraint.
  4. Elevate consider what further actions can be taken to eliminate it from being the constraint.
  5. Repeat, once one constraint/bottleneck has been removed then another point will start being the bottleneck.

If a task does not add any of the following benefits why is it being done? Improvements to:

  • Capacity of a constraint
  • Scalability
  • Availability
  • Survivability
  • Sustainability
  • Security
  • Supportability
  • Defensibility

Work centres consists of 

  1. Machine
  2. Operator
  3. Method
  4. Measure

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