Free The Phoenix Project Assignment Essay Example
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The Phoenix project is a novel that follows part of the life of Bill as an IT manager who has ninety days to salvage an initiative codenamed The Phoenix Project. The project is critical to the future of Parts Unlimited but it is over budgeted and late in implementation. The manager gives Bill an ultimate of ninety days to report to him directly and correct the mess, or his entire department could be outsourced. Working with a prospective board member, Bill uses a philosophy dubbed The Three Ways and starts to see that Information Technology is similar to a manufacturing plant, and this helps him greatly in the successful deployment of the Phoenix Project. It also showcases the constraints and obstacles that Bill encountered in his goal and how the philosophy helped him to overcome them.
The novel is about what IT Development and Operations (Dev-Ops) has to learn from manufacturing. Summarise as a list, what these recommendations are. For each recommendation, list a page in the novel where the recommendation is made or referenced.
Bill learns that a good way of managing the crisis is to apply the three ways as those of the manufacturing plant that the manufacturing guru, Erik introduces(Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p.99).
I). The IT needs to understand the flow of work. Without understanding, any changes made will have random effects. The IT departments learn to increase the flow and never pass on defects downstream (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p. 89).
Ii). on the same concept of flow, the IT department also learns never to allow local optimisation to cause global retardation (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p.89).
Iii).The IT department learns they have to achieve profound understanding of the entire system (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p.162). Being able to take needless work out of the system is more important than putting more work into it.
iv)The company should insist on consistent feedback. The IT department needs to understand and respond to the needs of all customers. Both internal and external. To do this, they need to shorten and amplify all feedback loops. Kim says this rule follows the model of Toyota Lean Manufacturing line where an employee could stop the line immediately if they see a defect (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p. 162).
v) The company ought to create quality at the source, that means building quality into everything (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p. 89).
vi) The department needs to create and embed knowledge where the IT department needs it (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p. 89).
vii) Another recommendation is to emphasise on continual learning. The IT department needs to create a culture that encourages experimentation and ready to learn from its failure. They need to recognise repetition as the prerequisite to mastery (Kim, Behr &Spafford, 2013, p. 90).
Phoenix turns into a mitigated disaster in its release. Why is that? What were the root causes of the release failure and the need for a 'war room' to manage it?
The Phoenix deployment becomes a mitigated disaster due to a long chain of problems. The biggest blow is when the application malfunctions and starts showing the entire world people’s credit numbers. The problem lies with the Phoenix website that started leaking credit card numbers of customers. In the event, that one empties the shopping cart, the session crashes and displays the credit card number of the last successful order. Phoenix was randomly losing transactions and in other cases it was double or triple-charging the customers debit cards. The disasters begin in the early stages on the day of project deployment when a code fails to run.The root causes of the release failure lie in the fact that the team had not incorporated a firewall report, and, therefore, the front end could not talk to the database server. As A result, the code could not run since it was changing too fast. There was also a problem in database indexing and a problem of huge memory leak. There was a need for the creation of a war room to manage the crisis because this was impacting negatively on the customer’s privacy as well as causing losses to the shareholders.
What is the role of the character "Brent"? Why is his role in the company/project/story important? (E.g., why did the author include this character?) What did Bill change about Brent's roll and how his role was managed to make the project more successful? How did these changes help?
Brent Geller is the lead engineer whose role is to spearhead the successful implementation of the Phoenix Project. Most of the novel centre on Bill and Him as he is the one that has the task of implementing most of the ideas flowing through Bill. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the company’s Byzantine IT system means that his involvement is necessary to get anything done. Bill recognises that Brent bears much of the work in the IT department which at times might overwhelm him though other members do not seem to see this as a problem. As a result, he identifies and limits the flow of work to Brent Geller. He also elevates preventive work to prevent unplanned work for Brent making work more visible and distinct to him. The act is an implementation of The First Way of managing the flow of work making the work more manageable. That is, he analysed the flow of work, identified the most important according to the priorities and designs it that Bill gets the most important tasks first, one at a time.
What is the 'Theory of Constraints?' What role does this theory play in how the Phoenix project release is managed? How does Bill apply this to the prioritisation of projects at Parts Unlimited? He projects more successful.
According to The theory of constraints, any manageable system is limited to achieving more of its goals by a small number of constraints or bottlenecks. There is often at least a single constraint around which the theory focuses on to enable reorganisation the company. In the management of the Phoenix Project, the department identifies the constraints, ways of exploiting the constraints and how to subordinate everything else to the above decision. They also elevate the constraint i.e. making other changes to increase its capacity. In the Phoenix project, Bill identifies the constraint to be Brent and they identify four types of work around him. These are Business projects surrounding him, IT Operations Projects, changes to be made, and what to do with unplanned work. Then Bill applies the three ways described above in these four areas to ensure a smooth flow of work and to ensure that they meet the deadlines for the deployment of the Phoenix Project.
What was the most useful principle about IT management that you learned from reading the book? How do you expect this principle to be useful to you beyond your MS education?
The most important principle I learnt from the novel was the importance of having a broader view of a whole systems (Systems Thinking).Systems thinking is the active processing of understanding the way things (or systems) influence each other in a whole structure. It’s origin lies in the General Systems theory advanced by Ludwig Von Bertalanfy and Ross Ashby in the 1950s.The books talk about a single piece flow through the system, and that one can be efficient as he or she likes, but it’s the bottleneck or constraint that eventually decides the organisation’s ability to deliver work. I expect this principle to help me in the implementation of my projects for the company that I will work with in the future. It has made me realise the importance of questioning my work, the way my company generates projects and requirements. The novel has also helped me think of what would happen if an organisation removes the constraint like IT by building it directly into the various departments. It might be that departments are the wrong thing to centre on. Instead, it might make more difference if they a company decides to focus on the product to deliver real customer value.
Kim, G., Behr, K., &Spafford, G. (2013). The phoenix project: A novel about IT, DevOps, and helping your business win. California: IT Revolution Press.
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