The DevOps Handbook, a review

You have probably heard or maybe have read the book “The Phoenix Project”, subtitle “A novel about IT, DevOps, and helping your business win”, written by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford. Written in a smooth style, in this novel, key figure Bill Palmer, Director of Midrange Technology Operations gets an unexpected promotion to Vice President of IT Operations. Minutes after his promotion he enters into a world of Chaos, mainly caused by the deployment of new software. This Phoenix project has been initiated to help Bill’s company “Parts Unlimited” to regain its market position. During this heroic journey, Bill is unexpectedly guided by a mysterious guy (Erik) who introduces him into the principles of the Three Ways, Continuous Delivery and much more. Eventually, the Development and IT Operations departments undergo a big transformation and the story ends well.

My first thought after reading “The Phoenix Project” was surely, this is a novel, but how does it work in the real world? Fortunately, it turned out that the writers, especially Gene Kim, have done many years of research in what they call “high performing” organizations like Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon to name a few. High performers are organizations that are able to deploy reliable code into production hundreds of times per day. And not only by having large numbers of developers, also the number of deploys per day per developer is very high.

The result of this extensive research can be read in the book “The DevOps Handbook”, authors; Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois and Jon Willis. DevOps is a contraction of software DEVelopment and IT OPerationS and refers to a set of theory, principles and practices.

The book consists of six parts. The first part introduces the principle of the Three Ways. In a nutshell, the First Way; Flow, the Second Way; Feedback and the Third Way; Continual Learning and Experimentation
In general introducing changes, like these, have a large impact on organizations. So the second part is a guidance how and where tot start a DevOps transformation in your organization that will lead to a success?

In parts three, four and five, the principles of the Three Ways are discussed in great detail. For instance in part three, the First Way – the Technical practices of Flow, describes how to create a deployment pipeline, the need for fast and reliable testing and how to move to Continuous Integration. On every page, you will find examples how other companies implemented organizational changes and examples of tooling which can help you.
Part six, the final part describes the practices of integrating Information Security with Change management and Compliance. If it was not clear already, Information Security is not optional, but must be integrated into all aspects of our daily work!

As a bonus, the book contains some interesting additional material and the possibility to benchmark the performance of your organization against industry-wide data gathered from the State of DevOps report. Each copy of this book contains an unique access code for this assessment

Conclusion, When you are besides the “What” also interested in the “How” question, you will like this book. It will provide you with tons of practical information and insights in the world of DevOps. And if you have decided to go the DevOps way, you can plan your route and make sure you won’t forget essential parts. Personally, I have learned a  lot of new insights about this huge transformation.

Disclaimer: In no way is this post or my blog sponsored. I pay for the books I read!

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