The Unicorn Project
This highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling title The Phoenix Project takes another look at Parts Unlimited, this time from the perspective of software development. In The Phoenix Project, Bill, an IT manager at Parts Unlimited, is tasked with a project critical to the future of the business, code named Phoenix Project. But the project is massively over budget and behind schedule. The CEO demands Bill fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill's entire department will be outsourced. In The Unicorn Project, we follow Maxine, a senior lead developer and architect, as she is exiled to the Phoenix Project, to the horror of her friends and colleagues, as punishment for contributing to a payroll outage. She tries to survive in what feels like a heartless and uncaring bureaucracy and to work within a system where no one can get anything done without endless committees, paperwork, and approvals. One day, she is approached by a ragtag bunch of misfits who say they want to overthrow the existing order, to liberate developers, to bring joy back to technology work, and to enable the business to win in a time of digital disruption. To her surprise, she finds herself drawn ever further into this movement, eventually becoming one of the leaders of the Rebellion, which puts her in the crosshairs of some familiar and very dangerous enemies. The Age of Software is here, and another mass extinction event looms--this is a story about "red shirt" developers and business leaders working together, racing against time to innovate, survive, and thrive in a time of unprecedented uncertainty...and opportunity.

The Unicorn Project Details

TitleThe Unicorn Project
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 19th, 2019
PublisherIt Revolution Press
ISBN-139781942788768
Rating
GenreBusiness, Fiction, Management, Science, Technology, Computer Science, Programming, Leadership, Software, Reference, Technical

The Unicorn Project Review

  • Tõnu Vahtra
    January 1, 1970
    I had high expectations towards this book and was not disappointed. When comparing it with Phoenix Project then I would say that there was more focus on Ops side in the first book while Unicorn project talks more about DEV delivery side (build automation, continuous integration) and also there are less individual characters to identify with (focus is more on overall process). Definitely recommend this book for a more holistic overview of IT organization challenges, how to overcome them and what I had high expectations towards this book and was not disappointed. When comparing it with Phoenix Project then I would say that there was more focus on Ops side in the first book while Unicorn project talks more about DEV delivery side (build automation, continuous integration) and also there are less individual characters to identify with (focus is more on overall process). Definitely recommend this book for a more holistic overview of IT organization challenges, how to overcome them and what are the different conflicting perspectives in different teams (DEV/QA/Ops/Product/Project...) and how to overcome them. While the first book focused around the THREE WAYS of DevOps then this one revolves around The Five Ideals:FIRST: Locality and SimplicitySECOND: Focus, Flow, and JoyTHIRD: Improvement of Daily WorkFOURTH: Psychological SafetyFIFTH: Customer FocusA very important aspect stressed throughout the book is the idea of Psychological Safety. Without the confidence that we can take action and be encouraged to learn from mistakes and successes, people and organizations revert to a blame culture and artificial harmony.From valuing simplicity over complexity I felt deja vu with Netfix culture deck (how complexity increases during the growth of organization and how the "standard" approach is to keep it under control with more processes and regulations). “If you don’t find problems quickly, you end up finding them months later. By then, the problem is lost in all the other changes … so the link between cause and effect disappears without a trace."The main problem with the book was that it felt too short (345 pages), would be happy to read an entire saga of them.
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  • Mandi
    January 1, 1970
    (I received an early ebook edition of The Unicorn Project in exchange for a review. This review is my own opinion.)First, I will say, if you haven't read The Phoenix Project, you do not need to read it before reading The Unicorn Project. They do stand on their own.The Unicorn Project, being a business book and also a novel, is an interesting read, and should be particularly helpful and approachable for folks who aren't already hip-deep in DevOps, Digital Transformation, LEAN, SAFe, or any number (I received an early ebook edition of The Unicorn Project in exchange for a review. This review is my own opinion.)First, I will say, if you haven't read The Phoenix Project, you do not need to read it before reading The Unicorn Project. They do stand on their own.The Unicorn Project, being a business book and also a novel, is an interesting read, and should be particularly helpful and approachable for folks who aren't already hip-deep in DevOps, Digital Transformation, LEAN, SAFe, or any number of other methodologies, acronyms, or frameworks. At the most basic, it is the story of how some technical folks saved the day for their employer, Parts Unlimited, via technology and cultural change.Gene has done all the heavy reading and provides the heroes with a mysterious guide, Erik, to give them the lessons they need to rethink how they are approaching not only the project they are working on, but the organizational culture that has grown like an unweeded garden at Parts Unlimited. I expect that many readers will nod knowingly at some of the scenarios in the book. Several things reminded me of projects I've worked on over the years, and not in a good way. Overall, I recommend this for technologists, specifically developers, looking for some clue as to what this new software-driven world might mean for them and their craft. The Erik character is a little too weird to not be distracting, but his guidance needs to come from somewhere, so it's a perfectly reasonable narrative device. I did chuckle at the repeated references to functional programming. There's always one. But generally only one.
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  • Vivek Gupta
    January 1, 1970
    Gene Kim has come up with his follow up to “The Phoenix Project” - “The Unicorn Project”. IT was a great read & I can tell you that this a must read for every leader in Enterprise IT whether they are starting, in the middle of or oblivious of digital transformation.As Phoenix project gave rise to the “The Three Ways”, The Unicorn Project gives rise to “The Five Ideals”.The book is written as a novel that charters the path of Maxine (an engineer) who navigates through the IT value stream in a Gene Kim has come up with his follow up to “The Phoenix Project” - “The Unicorn Project”. IT was a great read & I can tell you that this a must read for every leader in Enterprise IT whether they are starting, in the middle of or oblivious of digital transformation.As Phoenix project gave rise to the “The Three Ways”, The Unicorn Project gives rise to “The Five Ideals”.The book is written as a novel that charters the path of Maxine (an engineer) who navigates through the IT value stream in a large Enterprise and hits one constraint after another but unfazed rolls her sleeves up to alleviate them. I can probably guarantee that almost every single one of her stories will resonate with you no matter where you sit in the organization.The challenges & situations sometimes feel a little exaggerated for effect but they do succeed in having the effect !!!Gene does an amazing job of bringing together many of the themes and concepts related to digital transformation today - Fast Feedback Loops, Developer Productivity, project funding, emergent architecture, functional programming, tech debt, Wardley Maps, BizDevOps, Platforms, 3 Horizons and the list goes on.Like I said, a must read.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    For full disclosure I received a free copy of The Unicorn Project in advance of publication in exchange for a review. The content of the review are still my own independent thoughts.The Unicorn Project is the second book about "Parts Unlimited" set at the same time as The Phoenix Project, but is a completely independent story. Whereas the initial book looked more at Devops this book looks from the perspective of a developer. As with the first book it is written in a very engaging manner with an For full disclosure I received a free copy of The Unicorn Project in advance of publication in exchange for a review. The content of the review are still my own independent thoughts.The Unicorn Project is the second book about "Parts Unlimited" set at the same time as The Phoenix Project, but is a completely independent story. Whereas the initial book looked more at Devops this book looks from the perspective of a developer. As with the first book it is written in a very engaging manner with an underground guerilla team trying to improve the delivery of software against an environment where people could not even get the code to run.The book presents a couple of different concepts in the first half mostly focused on quality software and delivering value quicker. The second half is more focused on innovation. The third theme which runs throughout the book is that if you want to make things better then you should do so, which I feel is a very uplifting and positive message as quite often people just don't put the efforts that they could into improving the way they, their team and the organisation operate.I found the book an enjoyable read with some useful points/concepts. So I would definitely recommend this as a book to read.
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  • Kevin
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to like this story a lot more than I did... What resonated for me with The Phoenix Project, and later The Goal, seemed to be largely missing when I read The Unicorn Project. Some of it may have been due to already having been exposed to many of the concepts of the book, but the storyline and characters also seemed more forced than it could have been... The Phoenix Project was largely generic enough that I would readily feel comfortable recommending it to those not directly in the IT I wanted to like this story a lot more than I did... What resonated for me with The Phoenix Project, and later The Goal, seemed to be largely missing when I read The Unicorn Project. Some of it may have been due to already having been exposed to many of the concepts of the book, but the storyline and characters also seemed more forced than it could have been... The Phoenix Project was largely generic enough that I would readily feel comfortable recommending it to those not directly in the IT sector, I'm not sure I feel the same way with The Unicorn Project.Lastly, I was disappointed with the quality of the both the Audible and Kindle version of the book. With the Kindle version, there were many typos (doubled words, wrong words, etc.) that were slightly distracting. Some additional editing would have been nice. With the audiobook, the narration audio was distractingly jarring... Maybe the initial recordings were done prior to extensive re-writes and lines had to be changed or added last-minute...? No clue what led to the poor final product, but it was annoying...
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  • Jack Vinson
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received an advance review copy. The book is slated to come out in November 2019.This is a business novel, continuing the story that started in the Phoenix Project about a dusty old auto parts company that is struggling with all sorts of sclerotic systems and business processes. And it is about how they take some basic principles born of TOC, Lean, Agile, DevOps, and more and do something fabulous. The story had me hooked pretty early, even having me concerned for the main character - Note: I received an advance review copy. The book is slated to come out in November 2019.This is a business novel, continuing the story that started in the Phoenix Project about a dusty old auto parts company that is struggling with all sorts of sclerotic systems and business processes. And it is about how they take some basic principles born of TOC, Lean, Agile, DevOps, and more and do something fabulous. The story had me hooked pretty early, even having me concerned for the main character - when she felt sick at the actions of others, I felt sick. It’s a good read - a story that shows what can happen if you have just enough courage to do the next right thing.More detail on my blog: https://www.jackvinson.com/blog/2019/...
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  • Pete Cheslock
    January 1, 1970
    It's a book that needs to find its way into the hands of every middle manager and executive at enterprises struggling to understand why they are unable to make any progress. For those that have been in the space for a long time, may find it a rehashing of ideals of the past. For many this is the first time they have been introduced to these concepts.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic read, I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.If you want to read a journey story that not just demonstrates but also inspires you to make positive change in an organisation that promotes faster, more reliable product delivery and a more positive healthy working environment - The Unicorn Project is a must read.Longer, more detailed review coming soon...
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  • Andy Nortrup
    January 1, 1970
    This should be on every software engineer and product manager's professional development reading list.
  • Justin Abrahms
    January 1, 1970
    Great format for a book that gives an overview of technical and business topics. The outsider with all the answers was a little weird, but I'm not sure how else you'd discuss the ideal path.
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