Book review - The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim

The Unicorn Project

Title and Author

The Unicorn Project – Gene Kim

Date of Publication

26th November 2019


The Unicorn project follows on from the highly acclaimed Phoenix project. 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.

I read the Phoenix Project for the first time a week before the Unicorn project, I loved it, couldn’t put  the book down, so you can imagine the anticipation I felt to read the Unicorn Project. I was disappointed, struggled to finish the book. It didn’t flow well and there was a lot of modern technological jargon that seemed to be shoehorned in. I enjoyed the 5 ideals, I believe they were great discussion points and overall the philosophy on data brought up some great points that got me thinking

Who would benefit most from this book
I would suggest the people most likely to gain the best value from this book are business owners wanting to see an insight to the world of software development/delivery through the eyes of a developer and delivery team.

What I liked the most
I really enjoyed the 5 ideals, they brought up some thought provoking points and excellent mantras in how I tackle my daily work.

What could be improved
The overall ease that projects seem to be rolled out seems to offer a false timeline and gives the book an overall false feeling. I don’t understand why Eric keeps referring to everyone as sensei, this was constant and didn’t add to the story or character.

Brief Summary
I was disappointed in the book, maybe this was because I had such high hopes for it. Overall though the story lacked a clear goal, but there were some great insights amongst a lot of filler.

Further Reading
The phoenix project – Gene Kim
The DevOps Handbook – Gene Kim

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