I recently finished listening to The Phoenix Project. no relation to The Phoenix I Would Normally Write About.

Shoutout to Adi Iengar for recommending it.

Key takeaways

  • Delivering software (or any digital) value, has a lot in common with an assembly line. That is why Agile processes and tools have names like “Lean” or “Kanban”, which are manufacturing terms.
  • The amount of Work In Progress is the single greatest indicator of poor quality and missed deadlines. Reducing batch sizes and cycle times is the answer.
  • Any improvement made, not at the constraint, is just an illusion. I have thought about this a lot while having some deployment issues at work, and when I see any of our Kanban board columns stacked with several cards.

Biggest Surprise

I enjoyed the story. The book is written as a Fable. When I first realized that, I assumed I would be annoyed at the extra time wasted through building the story around what I want to learn, to the contrary, I enjoyed the story and my brain created a context to store the lessons in. I keep seeing many connections from the book to how Salesloft operates (Salesloft is doing pretty great, but the book has principles we could still learn from).

Who would I recommend it to?

If you work in software, and your technical abilities are no longer the limiting factor (bottleneck or constraint in factory terms) to how much value you can create, then I highly recommend this book.