The Phoenix Project, A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win might seem like a “techies-only” read at first glance, but it’s really a story that all business leaders (yes, even the technology-challenged) should invest in.
Bill Palmer plays the hero of this fictional (yet all too realistic) story about a business dangerously close to going under. BIll’s an unassuming IT manager at a large public corporation, Parts Unlimited, who gets tapped by the CEO to play a bigger role and help turn the company around. While Bill tells the story from an IT perspective, anybody who’s ever worked at a business can relate.
Bill’s turbulent journey in The Phoenix Project shows just how embedded IT is in every part of any organization – and just how dangerous it can be for a company not to take it seriously or mismanage it. All the other business leaders at Parts Unlimited depend on Bill’s team to run their operations, which also means IT gets all the blame when something goes wrong.
On top of heroics to bring systems back online so employees can get paid and so the company can actually sell products to their customers, Bill’s charged with deploying a huge IT project (The Phoenix Project) that the company is depending on to turn things around. The business demands are unrealistic, and even after all-nighters and weekends, Bill has the most thankless job at Parts Unlimited.
Not to mention the CISO’s been a thorn in his side, constantly nagging him about security and compliance issues that, if not addressed, will supposedly get them thrown in jail.
The Security Thorn in Bill’s Side
John the CISO doesn’t start out as everybody’s friend. Or anybody’s friend for that matter. The first thing he does in the story is break a critical system by implementing a security application that breaks down a critical system without coordinating with IT ops and without testing. And guess what? They didn’t even really need that security app.
With his “sky is falling” mentality and tunnel vision on security only, John steadily loses credibility and relevance at the company. Although he has truly well-meaning intentions to keep the company secure and compliant, he doesn’t focus on what’s critical or not and gets in the way of bigger-picture business priorities. Eventually, he’s forced to take a deep hard look at what value he brings to the company.
Reaching a breaking point, John reaches for the reset button. With a clean slate, he starts to fall into stride will Bill and begins to align security and compliance effectively with the business priorities.
A look in the IT mirror
Parts Unlimited clearly has priority issues. And it’s Bill and his team who help the CEO and other leaders realize this. By holding up a mirror to the company’s top priorities, mapped out to how much they depend on IT, and what’s involved and needed for IT to make that happen, Parts Unlimited starts moving in the right direction.
With this understanding, the leaders at Parts Unlimited start to figure out how they can all help each other to get the mission-critical projects across the finish line.
The Phoenix Project demystifies the critical and strategic role that IT plays in sustaining and growing a successful business, not only painting a painful picture of what could go wrong but also outlining effective approaches to get the business working again. Again, whether you’re in IT or not, this book might just save your business.
If you are interested in learning more about how the future of change management and how DevOps and security teams are now actively collaborating as peers, then please attend this webcast with the author of the Phoneix Project, Gene Kim, and Tim Erlin of Tripwire.
In the webcast Gene and Tim will discuss case studies that show how DevOps succeeds in large, complex organizations such as General Electric, Raytheon, Capital One, Disney, and Nordstrom. In almost every industry, organizations are replicating the same groundbreaking approach and succeeding.