The DevOps Handbook



By Dick Stark

Remember the Phoenix Project? Well, good news, The DevOps Handbook is just out, a book by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis. (Gene Kim was the lead author of the Phoenix Project.) Like the Phoenix Project, I highly recommend this book for anyone in IT or dealing with IT, although for anyone in DevOps, this should be required reading.

To recap, the Phoenix Project is about a fictional auto-parts company, Parts Unlimited, with retail outlets nationwide. In its rush to develop a new “killer app” to allow its customers to make on-line purchases in a way that “leap-frogs,” the competition, nearly every IT calamity possible befalls the company. We learn lesson after lesson about security, change management, knowledge management, and of course DevOps.

The Phoenix project concludes with three underpinning principles:


  1. The first way is about the left-to right flow of work from Development to IT Operations.
  2. The second is about the constant flow of fast feedback from right-to-left at all stages of the value stream.
  3. The third way is about creating a culture that fosters two things: continual experimentation, and understanding that repetition and practice is the prerequisite to mastery.

This is where the DevOps Handbook begins. From the book’s introduction, “DevOps astonishingly enables us to simultaneously improve organizational performance, achieve the goals of all the various function technology roles (e.g., Development, QA, IT Operations, Infosec), and improve the human condition.”

At 437 pages, it is not likely that anyone will get through it in a single sitting. Nor, will many read it cover to cover. The book is divided into six parts, beginning with an introduction of Agile and continuous delivery, and detailing the three ways. The DevOps Handbook concludes with chapters on security and compliance. It also includes case studies from Google, Capital One, Target, Netflix, etsy, and others.

Thanks to our growing DevOps and Atlassian practice, RightStar has an incredible opportunity to work with customers to help them merge both DevOps and ITSM/ITIL practices to enable them to be more efficient, productive, and of course, more competitive. Look for future blog posts when I will tackle and summarize a chapter at a time…..

About dick1stark

I am the President and founder of RightStar, Inc, an XTIVIA company. RightStar is a leading ITSM and DevOps consultancy and BMC Software Elite Solution Provider and Atlassian Gold Partner. My passion is customer success—whether it’s reducing the cost of service management, improving overall efficiency, or increasing end-user or employee satisfaction. Since founding RightStar in 2003, RightStar has made the INC 5000 list four times. In 2011, RightStar was awarded the prestigious National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) by the Society of Financial Service Professionals based upon RightStar’s foundation of honesty, ethics, and integrity. And in 2014, RightStar was selected by Forrester Research as one of 13 North American companies profiled in its ITSM Consultancy Wave Report. In 2019, BMC selected RightStar as its DSM North American Partner of the Year for its sales and partnership excellence. Finally, in November 2020, RightStar was acquired by XTIVIA, an innovative IT Solutions Provider. Dick is a graduate of Stanford University and a Project Management Professional (PMP).
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