Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unicorn Project” as Want to Read:
The Unicorn Project
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unicorn Project

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,882 ratings  ·  205 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by It Revolution Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Unicorn Project, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Unicorn Project

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,882 ratings  ·  205 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Unicorn Project
Sebastian Gebski
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great idea (re-utilized tbh), brilliant principles, but not a great book.

What did I like?
- the general "stage" was set quite well - easy to grasp & understand the problems, credible & "realistic"
- some of the comparisons (e.g. to "redshirts" were brilliant & hilarious :>)
- I likes "sensei" quotations - they may have felt a bit out of place, but they were very valuable in a context - my fav. one was about horizons
- I really believe this book can have its effect - I mean: be more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Bjoern Rochel
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: eng-mgmt, 2020
Wow, where do I start with this one? The Unicorn Project is a book that I immediately bought, once I heard of its existence. I loved The Phoenix Project, dug deeper by reading a lot of Goldratts books and subsequently also enjoyed The DevOps handbook and Accelerate. I expected to fall in love with this book, like I did with The Phoenix Project and The Goal.

Turns out I didn't, at least as a novel, even though the core messages of the book resonate with me.

What I didn't like specifically:

1. They
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I did have quite high expectation's from this book. Looking at The Pheonix Project and DevOps Handbook I thought this will be HUGE. and it was, but disappointment.

Firstly, with PP I could identify myself with problem and solution. I was trying to find a solution to the problem that Bill was having. It was really engaging and educational.

Here it was hard to identify with anyone in the book. Rebellion to save a company, working against everyone. I wasn't and I'm still not sure what this book is
Joel Bastos
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like its predecessor "The Phoenix Project", this book dwells on the transformation required for companies to achieve sustained velocity and quality relying on communication and data-driven decisions. Although the timeline is pretty much the same as "The Phoenix Project", this time, the perspective is of the development and business.

I can relate with several signals of broken organizations, like silos, over-complicated processes and blameful culture. As most of my career was spent on operations
Julian Dunn
I read The Phoenix Project back in 2012 or so, near the beginning of the DevOps movement, and I couldn't put it down. As someone who had spent most of his career up to that point in mostly-horrible operations roles, many of the horror stories and high-pressure scenarios -- not to mention typical stifling enterprise bureaucracies -- resonated with me deeply. In the 7 years since I first read it, I've recommended the book to countless people, both technical and non-technical, as a way to ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books predecessor, The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win introduced me to DevOps in 2013, and while I was looking forward to learning new things about software development with this one, sadly, I cant say that I did, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It was part horror story, part I see this happen every day and even part comedy, it made me roll my eyes (in a good way!) many times. It was very entertaining in a geeky kind of way.

I can certainly identify
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rogério Vicente
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another must read book by Gene Kim. The only thing I have to point out is that if you read "The Phoenix Project", you already know how the story ends, because this story happens in the same timeline, which kind of takes away some elements of surprise and makes it less exciting to read when compared with its predecessor story.
Ben Goldin
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the story a lot as well as the level of details on many topics. This is the great book for organisation who are at the start of their (devops transformation) journey. There are obviously few things that work differently in the real life, for instance, it is just a great co-incidence that Parts Unlimited had MRP division that was already advanced in the way they did things. Usually that is not the case. It is also unusual to have people with the competence and the experience in modern and ...more
João Quitério
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good follow-up to The Phoenix Project that takes place at the same time but it's now focused on the development team as opposed to the operations/IT team. What I really enjoy in these books and that that they focus on mindset, organization, and practices, instead of technology which in my experience is the hardest and most impactful change in any organization.

The timeframe of the changes and their impact doesn't always seem reasonable but I don't think that diminishes the value of the
Phil Tomson
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
The target audience of this novel is software development professionals. If you aren't involved in software development you're not going to get a lot of the terminology.

For those in the target audience don't think that this is an escape novel. It has a mission - It's basically trying to inculcate agile development practices (while also throwing in several plugs for functional programming along the way). And sure, most of those practices it's trying to convince you about are good. Maybe I made
Lindsay Nixon
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5-3.75 stars

This book a manages to be a novel/story AND an excellent best practices business book while also showing some key issues and problems with large corporations.

If you like business books and novels, youd like this. This author also references / pulls plot from Red Shirts by Jonathon Scalzi at least four times, so if you liked that book... (I think general scalzi fans would like this as well, even though its not science fiction).

The one gripe I have is the main character reads like
Jack Vinson
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 -
Vlad Fratila
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Agile enterprise has been discussed time and again, but Gene Kim's work on the subject has a fresh perspective. The Unicorn Project is a rehash of an older idea, first explored by the author in The Phoenix Project, a novel about Devops transformation in IT.

The Unicorn Project tells the story of Maxine, a senior engineer at Parts Unlimited, a large manufacturer and retailer of car parts. Maxine is blamed for a payroll disaster and gets sent into exile to the Phoenix Project - a new
Tõnu Vahtra
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Seanpmcclean McClean
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads
Have been looking forward to the chance to dive into this book since it came out and finally got the chance. Like it's predecessor, the Pheonix Project, and the Eliyahu Goldratt's The Goal (which I gather in some contexts helped inspire the Pheonix Project), it's a business improvement book masquerading as a fictional story - and I love it for exactly that. The story helps grab and engage people which in turn helps give the concepts, suggestions and ideas context and anchors in your brain. Some ...more
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Considered subtracting a star because I didn't need an ad for clojure and the end dragged on in a way that Phoenix Project didn't. But honestly I enjoyed this book more - probably because I'm not on the devops side. I'd read them separately or back to back in either order.

"I expect leaders to buffer their people from all the political and bureaucratic insanity, not throw them into it."

"Being able to test and push code into production is more productive, makes for happier customers, creates
Gustavo Leiva
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun to read.
If you already read the Phoenix Project then this one will feel certainly similar.
The Unicorn Project narrates the story more from the stand point of a software engineer, rather than a head of technology, which is IMO what the Phoenix Project does.
The book presents some of the DevOps practices and results in an entertaining story happening on a fictitious company.
My only criticism comes from the fact that they packed all the engineering work done in a matter of months, if not weeks,
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dev, audible, kindle, own
I loved the Phoenix Project and this book is quite similar. But you don't have to read the predecessor.
It's a funny and entertaining read, lots of pop culture and geeky references (i.e. Red shirts from Star Trek), common principles explained in a non-scientific way. Nothing really new, but you will learn a lot about politics in bigger companies and hear some disaster stories. If it would be a novel you could complain how easy you can turn the ship and become successful, not such much drama
Ciprian Dobre-Trifan
Insightful and keeping you on your toes!

A great piece of digital society literature that should be found much more on all.physical and digital shelves.

There are some parts that bring on way too much information compared to the rest in a rhythm that is hard to follow.

Also, the story seems to make a little too much progress than the timeline leaves room for in some parts.

All in all a great inspiration to businesses and tech teams.
Ryan Kapsar
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: agile, management
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I found parts of the book at odds with some of the fundamental goals of agile and DevOps (which is odd given that Gene Kim is one of the founders of the latter movement). The primary issue I have with the book is the fact that the main character has zero work life balance. I understand this was a do or die situation with work. That there was a major crisis, but this was bad. In the Phoenix Project and the Goal (written by Goldratt) there's a better balance between ...more
Lukasz Nalepa
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I was a bit tired reading this book. It's not that fresh as the Phoenix Project, and it is also less clear on what the author want to say by this fable. Also i feel that the fable itself is too colorized and too far off the reality - even comparing to the Phoenix Project. After all I had a very mixed feelings finishing this book.
The Goal > The Phoenix Project > The Unicorn Project > Beyond The Phoenix Project. This is my final stack-rank of this 'series'. I would recommend The Phoenix Project for everybody outside IT but perhaps working in the software company. The technical folks, better to go with the original The Goal.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a clean take on the Phoenix project I was worried it would just be a boring rehash but it was surprisingly fresh and new. I still think I prefer the story/structure of the Phoenix project as I liked the style and rush a bit more compared to the laid back feel of this (read as less firefighting).

For me this goes up there and I would rate them in the following must-read order.

1. The goal
2. The Phoenix Project
3. The unicorn project

But the order might change depending on your background and
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A New Hope...
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In short if you enjoyed reading Phoenix you will enjoy reading Unicorn book. Written in the same over the top pace style. Was hard to put down and you are tempted to read cover to cover as fast as possible.
Eduards Sizovs
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book. Even though it's not as exciting as The Phoenix Project, The Unicorn Project is the recommended reading for people working in big or fast-growing organizations.

* If you have read The Phoenix Project this book covers different topics. It's worth your time.
* If you haven't read The Phoenix Project read both, but I recommend starting with Phoenix.

Phoenix tells a beautiful story about putting things in order and getting out of the chaos. Unicorn is about breaking the rules and
Michael Stanfa
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you want to read a book about how a technology company can use DevOps practices to remain relevant, this is (one of) the book(s) for you! Easy read, would recommend to anybody working in tech
Trevor Bramble
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, of course. Desperately needs another proofreading pass, but the content is at least as insightful and engaging as it's indispensable predecessor, The Phoenix Project.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow
  • Accelerate: Building and Scaling High-Performing Technology Organizations
  • Project to Product: How to Survive and Thrive in the Age of Digital Disruption with the Flow Framework
  • Principles: Life and Work
  • Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & flow
  • Clean Agile: Back to Basics
  • An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management
  • Paper Girls, Vol. 4
  • Paper Girls, Vol. 5
  • Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
  • Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness
  • The Twisted Ones
  • Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1)
  • Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls, #2)
  • Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don't Have To
  • Essence: A Divine Dungeon Anthology
  • The Family Next Door: The Heartbreaking Imprisonment of the Thirteen Turpin Siblings and Their Extraordinary Rescue
  • Mythian (Chronicles of Ethan, #1)
See similar books…

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
Gene Kim is a multiple award-winning CTO, Tripwire founder, Visible Ops co-author, IT Ops/Security Researcher, Theory of Constraints Jonah, a certified IS auditor and a rabid UX fan.

He is passionate about IT operations, security and compliance, and how IT organizations successfully transform from "good to great."

Related Articles

"Stay calm and read on" might be our collective slogan for the coming months. Since we all might need some help with that, we asked Goodreads m...
93 likes · 88 comments
“While the redshirts battle to contain the raging engine fire that is threatening the entire ship, the bridge officers continue to cover their asses,” 0 likes
“Ward Cunningham in 2003. He said, ‘technical debt is what you feel the next time you want to make a change.” 0 likes
More quotes…