The Phoenix Project

👂 How did I come across this book?

  • Recommended by a GitLab team member.

ℹ️ What was going on in my life as I read this book?

  1. I read this book in January 2022, finished it at the end of January. At the time, I’ve been going through a “trial” period at work as Director of Product for the Fulfillment team. I’ve been working hard trying to ramp up on everything going on in this new area, while at the same time try to direct work in that area where everything is new to me. Lots of challenges and stress/anxiety to do things right.


🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. It’s a novel about an IT manager promoted to run a big IT organization, and how he learns to manage IT work following practices adapted/learned from manufacturing — kanban boards, identifying your limiting step and organizing around it, balancing change controls/processes with velocity, etc.

☘️ Lessons I will Apply in Real Life

(what concrete actions will I take after reading this book?)

  • Map your team and division objectives to company priorities and organize around them. Aligning to company priorities is key in ensuring that when tradeoffs need to happen, which inevitably will come up, you’re well-positioned to justify your “spend/investments” and work through them.
  • Look at your limiting step/resource and organize around it. Any optimization done that doesn’t improve the output of your limiting step is marginal/wasted effort. For tech work, that may mean protecting the time of your most productive/critical developers even if that’s at the expense of additional process for other teams.

📒 Summary + Notes

My Literal review:

I never thought I’d have this much fun reading a novel about a recently promoted IT manager trying to salvage a badly-run department, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.