Book Reviews

Must Reads – The best of the best shaping Next Generation IT

My Lean journey started in the late 80’s reading the early foundational books of Total Quality Management. Eli Goldratt’s “The Goal” and the concept of Theory of Constraints was one of those texts. Gene Kim et. al. The Phoenix Project reboots this text for the Digital Age that birthed the popularity of DevOps to the IT industry.

Start here and you’ll immediately recognize your are not alone in your IT journey and that there is way forward. I consider this the “microeconomics” text of DevOps as it focuses more on delivery than strategy. This book applies to small organizations, startups and enterprises alike.

Jez Humble’s Lean Enterprise is the “macroeconomics” to The Phoenix Project “microeconomics” view. Every technologist (startup or otherwise) should read both, but this is going to appeal most to leadership and others that influence the IT Portfolio and Business Strategy.

Sriram Narayan’s Agile IT Organizational Design is the hidden gem in the field of DevOps. While a member of ThoughtWorks along with the instantly recognizable Jez Humble, his book “Agile IT Organizational Design” is in my opinion one, if not the most, critical key in Enterprise scale DevOps.

While a lot of focus is put on unlocking Technical Debt in the DevOps field, none of that becomes feasible at scale until you unlock the massive Organizational Debt of large or growing enterprises. This will be the biggest challenge for most legacy organizations.

Chances are your IT leadership is willing to fund a small scope DevOps pilot on this trendy new concept, but not willing to bet their career and reputation on concepts they don’t fully understand yet. Many of the Next Gen IT concepts are counter-intuitive to everything that made them successful. Read this book and you’ll understand why almost everything in mature, large IT organizations are stacked against you on scaling DevOps successfully.

Deming Rules! W. Edwards Deming is the Socrates of DevOps; most of it’s foundations can be traced back to some degree to this great thought leader. Google “John Willis Deming” and you’ll find plenty of homages to the greatness of Deming even 20+ years after his passing. Out of the Crisis may be a little cryptic as Deming’s book was written back in the 80’s and focused on the manufacturing sector.  Ultimately Deming is the godfather of the Toyota Production System, Lean, Six Sigma and Kata going back to post-WW2 Japan when he helped them rebuild after the war. While not a must-read for everyone, I’d be remiss not to put it here as a foundational text that is not yet fully mined of it’s value, or influence fully appreciated, on Next Generation IT.


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