9 Books to Become Better at DevOps

19-09-2019 / CloudOps

Interested in learning more about DevOps but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.

We asked some people on our team for their favourite books on DevOps. Here are a few that explain how DevOps can truly transform the way technology serves your business.

Lean Enterprise: How High-Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale

This is a practical guide to Lean and Agile principles, both of which are at the foundation of DevOps. It demonstrates why Lean and Agile must be applied throughout an entire organization and not just within individual departments or teams with a series of case studies. Lean principles can radically improve performance by focusing on people and teamwork at every level, and organizations should be experimental when problem-solving and explore solutions, test assumptions, and get feedback from real users in a way that empowers employees. ‘Lean Enterprise: How High-Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale’ will help you implement Lean and Agile principles in any environment, no matter how complex and regulated.

‘Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation’ by Jez Humble and David Farley

Collaboration between teams and the automation of processes for building, testing, and deploying code form the backbone of CI/CD pipelines. In this book, Jez Humble and David Farley discuss the foundations of delivery processes, automated deployment pipelines, and the cloud native ecosystems needed to support continuous delivery throughout the entire software delivery lifecycle. They introduce techniques that can be used to create these foundations, review key issues, identify best practices, and demonstrate how to mitigate risks. ‘Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation’ will provide you with solid means of building CI/CD pipelines.

‘The Phoenix Project’ by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr

No list of DevOps book recommendations could possibly be complete without a reference to ‘The Phoenix Project’, which was written by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr. Published in 2013, ‘The Phoenix Project’ is a novel that takes you through the DevOps transformation of Parts Unlimited. Bill, the IT manager, has been given ninety days to execute the company’s new IT initiative, code-named Phoenix Project, that seemed both daunting and unclear. Inspired by his observations of a nearby manufacturing plant, Bill re-organized workflows to streamline and accelerate communications between various departments and overcome siloes. ‘The Phoenix Project’ shows readers what DevOps transformation can look like.

‘The DevOps Handbook’ by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Patrick Debois

‘The DevOps Handbook’ follows in the footsteps of ‘The Phoenix Project,’ showing readers how to replicate the success described in the first book. It demonstrates how Product Management, Development, QA, IT Operations, and Security can be integrated to increase profitability, elevate work culture, and exceed productivity goals. ‘The DevOps Handbook’ states key principles of DevOps and is ideal for individuals both from technical and business backgrounds. This book is a critical foundation for those looking to implement DevOps from the ground up.

‘Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps’ by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, and Nicole Forsgren

‘Accelerate’ takes research collected from over 23,000 survey respondents and over 2,000 organizations of various sizes from all over the world. The book delineates the correlation between DevOps and high performance and demonstrates the science behind building high-performing IT organizations. It discusses ways to measure performance, namely delivery lead time, deployment frequency, time to restore service, and change fail rate. Full of statistics, ‘Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps’ provides a more scientific way of implement DevOps principles. After reading this book, you’ll understand how culture plays an integral role in accelerating performance and why addressing the leadership gap is important.

‘Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems’ by Niall Murphy, Betsy Beyer, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff

This book is a collection of essays of articles written by members of Google’s SRE team that explain how Google’s commitment to the entire development life cycle has enabled Google to successfully maintain some of the largest software systems in the world. Google’s SRE team is responsible for the production system. The book is divided into four sections: introduction, principles, practices, and management. While each essay does build upon each other to produce a coherent whole, what’s nice about this book is that you can gain something by picking up any chapter.

‘Building a DevOps Culture’ by Mandi Walls

As the book’s subheading reads, “DevOps is as much about culture as it is about tools.” This short handbook is only twenty-six pages long and can be a good introduction to DevOps practices and the mindset it depends on. ‘Building a DevOps Culture’ stresses why you should be aware of your reasons for changing to DevOps, defining meaningful and achievable goals. It explains how to start a pilot project and find a technical leader who can act as an expert to evangelize team members. Mandi Walls situates cultural forces within DevOps and shows team leaders how they can realign responsibilities and incentives to facilitate open communication and constant improvement within their organizations.

‘DevOps for Dummies’ by Emily Freeman

Emily Freeman’s ‘DevOps for Dummies’ provides a clear roadmap for integrating DevOps philosophies into your software delivery pipelines, focusing both on the tools as well as on the culture. It guides readers towards viewing DevOps transformations in four phases. First, you identify your organization’s needs. Second, you create a DevOps framework. Third, you change your organizational structure. Finally, you manage projects within a DevOps context. This is an essential read for DevOps practitioners only beginning their DevOps journeys in the early stages of adoption.

‘Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries

Eric Ries’ book argues that startups often fail not because of the high levels of uncertainty following their business model, but rather because they often make and then stick with decisions based on poor information. Startups can determine how to be successful by frequently make small experiments. Eric Ries is a proponent of ‘split testing,’ a technique where you test slightly different versions of the same product with different customers to determine the best formula. This will produce useful data that will be essential to succeed amidst uncertainty.

DevOps cultures are first and foremost learning cultures. To remain competitive, organizations must constantly reflect and improve, learning both about themselves and their markets – a topic which you can learn more about in our white paper called ‘How to Initiate DevOps Transformation by Assessing Culture and Processes.’

Books and white papers are great, but sometimes you need the insight only an experienced team of experts can provide. Contact us to learn how our DevOps Platform and Practices Assessment (DPPA) can shed light on the unique strengths and weaknesses of your delivery pipelines, providing recommendations that will launch you on the path toward application modernization.

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