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April 6, 2023

Essential Reads for the DevOps Expert

By IT Revolution

So, you’ve been doing this DevOps thing for a while. You’ve read all the beginner books, and now you’re looking for something to help you take it to the next level. You want to become a DevOps expert.

Here are our top three books to take your DevOps knowledge to the next level.

1) The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim

Where The Phoenix Project walked us through the life of an IT operations specialist and introduced us to things like the Three Ways of DevOps, the sequel finds us on the opposite side of the table (so to speak): development. Not only does this book treat us to another easy-to-understand, fun novel, but it also sheds new light on the intricacies and dependencies of software development. This book helps us step back and see the whole system of systems and how they interact. Through the Five Ideals of DevOps, Gene Kim shows us how to not only deliver software but to do it better, safer, and more integrated with the values of the business.

Bonus Read: Investments Unlimited

In this short read, we dive into the world of a highly regulated company struggling to integrate GRC and security into software delivery. In fact, they’re on the brink of falling apart altogether. With the clock ticking, this book turns what can be a dry and, dare we say, boring topic (government, risk and compliance) and makes it interesting. It also shows how to apply DevOps principles to GRC, security, and audit functions to further integrate DevOps across the whole organization instead of just IT.

2) Team Topologies by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais

Any successful enterprise has to deal with dependencies and bottlenecks between teams. How do you organize and teach your teams to work effectively and efficiently with one another, especially when your organization is comprised of thousands of individuals and hundreds or even thousands of teams? Team Topologies, from the minds of Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais, breaks down organizational design into a set of just four team types. With these four types of teams, any organization can find success and mitigate dissonance. Team Topologies is being used across the world in successful organizations from Docker to Croz and more.

Bonus Read: Making Work Visible by Dominica DeGrandis

This is the essential companion book for any leader who is in charge of a team or teams of teams. It gives practical, simple solutions to helping us make our work visible so we can better see dependencies, bottlenecks, and more. For an amazing breakdown of the key takeaways from Domincia’s book, check out this thread from leadership consultant Pam Rubin.

3) Sooner Safer Happier by Jon Smart

At this point, Jon Smart’s adage of Better Value Sooner Safer Happier can be found everywhere you look in the Agile and DevOps Communities. This award-winning book is the perfect companion for leaders who are already in the thick of a transformation or whose digital transformation started years ago. Broken into a series of patterns and antipatterns, leaders can open this book and jump straight to the challenge they’re facing in their organization that day. Or, use this map to find the outcome you’re looking to achieve and read the chapters that will show you the relevant patterns and antipatterns to get you there. Ultimately, this book is about building a whole organization of business agility, not just focusing on the tech space. It’s scaling DevOps across the whole organization, and that’s where DevOps is headed in the future.

Bonus Read: The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson

One of the biggest challenges a lot of us face is achieving true psychological safety in our teams and organizations as a whole. In Sooner Safer Happier, Smart talks a lot about this, including detailing how a lack of psychological safety led to the disastrous Boeing 737. But he’ll be the first to tell you that to really understand psychological safety, you need to pick up The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson, which offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy.

- About The Authors
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IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

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