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The Unicorn Project
A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Dataav Gene Kim302
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The Phoenix Project wowed over a half-million readers. Now comes the Wall Street Journal Bestselling The Unicorn Project! "The Unicorn Project is amazing, and I loved it 100 times more than The Phoenix Project..."-FERNANDO CORNAGO, Senior Director Platform Engineering, Adidas "Gene Kim does a masterful job of showing how ... the efforts of many create lasting business advantages for all."-DR. STEVEN SPEAR, author of The High-Velocity Edge, Sr. Lecturer at MIT, and principal of HVE LLC. "The Unicorn Project is so clever, so good, so crazy enlightening!"--CORNELIA DAVIS, Vice President Of Technology at Pivotal Software, Inc., Author of Cloud Native Patterns 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 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 rebel 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 provides insanely useful insights on how to improve your technology business."-DOMINICA DEGRANDIS, author of Making Work Visible and Director of Digital Transformation at Tasktop --- "My goal in writing The Unicorn Project was to explore and reveal the necessary but invisible structures required to make developers (and all engineers) productive, and reveal the devastating effects of technical debt and complexity. I hope this book can create common ground for technology and business leaders to leave the past behind, and co-create a better future together."-Gene Kim, November 2019
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"Every company going through a digital transformation needs to make this a must-read for all leaders. Not only will they recognize and empathize with the struggles of Maxine and team, they will also find insights for success with the Five Ideals. This book gives a roadmap to the type of rebellion every organization wishes for." -- Courtney Kissler, CTO, Zulily "What are developers' two typical experiences? Frustration, fatigue, anxiety, and aggravation when nothing comes together like it should and projects run late, over budget, and under promise. The Unicorn Project gives an empathetic over-the-shoulder look at how a peer can escape these too familiar circumstances, and Gene Kim does a masterful job of showing how a dynamic, discovery-oriented approach to technology transformation can combine the efforts of many to create lasting business advantages for all." -- Dr. Steven Spear, author of The High-Velocity Edge, Sr. Lecturer at MIT, and principal of HVE LLC. "The Unicorn Project is amazing, and I loved it 100 times more than The Phoenix Project....It made me remember every step we've gone through at adidas in the last 4 years." -- Fernando Cornago, Senior Director Platform Engineering, adidas "As important as The Phoenix Project was for managing organizational change, The Unicorn Project is for the vast majority of us who actually solve problems. This book provides a vision for software engineers for generations to come." -- Dr. Tom Longstaff, Chief Technology Officer, Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute "A bona fide digital transformation, one that makes a worthy difference in customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and cash flow, is a hard-fought victory through a gauntlet of agonizing battles. Wins, losses, and the unexpected are inevitable, and true grit-a combination of passion, courage, and perseverance-is required. The Unicorn Project is the organizational civil-war novel that every technology and business trailblazer must read." -- Christopher O'Malley, President and CEO, Compuware "In The Phoenix Project, Gene Kim clarified the what and why of DevOps. Now his latest book, The Unicorn Project, clarifies the what and why of digital transformation. Being great at DevOps without focusing on the customer means that you can be excellent at something that doesn't matter." -- Jeffrey Snover, Technical Fellow, Microsoft "The Unicorn Project is an inspired followup to The Phoenix Project, telling the same events from the perspective of technical contributors and digging much more deeply into key questions of team dynamics, leadership, automation, and misguided governance. Readers working in real-world IT or digital organizations will again find themselves nodding and grimacing in recognition that as an industry we have a long way to go; fortunately, Gene is continuing to light the way." -- Charles Betz, Principal Analyst and Global DevOps Lead, Forrester Research "The Unicorn Project takes you on a fun and imaginative journey into some of the most difficult IT and business challenges we face today. The project may be mythical, but the lessons and ideals encountered will provide real help to any leader seeking to unleash powerful potential within their organization. This should be required reading for any student, IT professional, or business leader who is serious about tackling data-driven digital disruption, customer focus, and workforce empowerment to deliver business value faster, better, safer, and happier." -- Jason Cox "If you read The Phoenix Project and wondered if the author had been following you around at work, then The Unicorn Project is going to give you a sense of deja vu." -- Erica Morrison, Executive Director of Software Engineering, CSG "What I loved about The Phoenix Project is that it made me feel not alone. Reading that story, I closely identified with the experiences the characters wer
Gene Kim is a multiple award-winning CTO, researcher and author, and has been studying high-performing technology organizations since 1999. He was founder and CTO of Tripwire for 13 years. He has written six books, including The Unicorn Project (2019), The Phoenix Project (2013), The DevOps Handbook (2016), the Shingo Publication Award winning Accelerate (2018), and The Visible Ops Handbook (2004-2006) series. Since 2014, he has been the founder and organizer of the DevOps Enterprise Summit, studying the technology transformations of large, complex organizations. In 2007, ComputerWorld added Gene to the "40 Innovative IT People to Watch Under the Age of 40" list, and he was named a Computer Science Outstanding Alumnus by Purdue University for achievement and leadership in the profession. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife and family.