The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim is a very inspirational DevOps book that I just finished reading. I am not an avid novel reader and rarely would pick up a book for casual daily reading. But this book pulled me and kept me interested until completion. It is story about the day in the life of a disorganized company trying to build a new software product while maintaining a handful of other projects and legacy applications.
One big theme of the book is to figure out how to manage your employees time effectively. Their is a character in the book named “Brett” that is the resident expert on the architecture between all the different computer systems. Whenever any issue between the systems would occur the staff would run to Brett to fix the issue. This would distract Brett from his required tasks to finish the new Phoenix Project software. With Brett fixing so many projects at the same time it is impossible for him to document the changes that he makes, and sometimes while moving quickly fixing problems he causes more problems. The management asked Brett what did you do to fix the problem? Brett replies, I don’t know, but it works now…
In the book they resolved this by not letting Brett access the computer to fix the problems, but bring in other staff members on the team to dix the problems by Brent working with them. This allowed the other employees to learn how to fix the problems, but also document them. The company implemented a KanBan Post-It note system to keep track of all the tasks that were coming in for change requests as well as what tasks were coming in from different departments that were just for Brett. At the beginning everything was marked as Critical as that is what people found were only looked at, but after working through the KanBan boards work was prioritized correctly.
I would think most companies would have a “Brett” maybe a handful of them. This book is a great read to help get some ideas of what to try in your organization keep them on course with their current priorities and ensure that the companies top projects are stable and successful.