Notes: Beyond the Phoenix Project

January 7th, 2019

Books: Beyond the Phoenix Project


Summary blogposts (by the author)




theory of constraints


Dr Demming

[ ] Out of the crisis - Demming

14 points

Revived Japan after the war


[ ] New economics - Demming

his last book, system of profound knowledge

  1. Appreciation for system

  2. Knowledge of variation

  3. Theory of knowledge

  4. Knowledge of psychology


Module 4 - Lean

5 classic areas of lean


7 sins in manufacturing


[ ] Mary poppendich - lean software development

Translates these 7 sins and lean stuff





Erik Ries

-lean StartUp (book)

-lessons learned (blog)


[ ] The principles of software development flow




[ ] Kanban - David J Anderson



[ ] Toyota kata - Mike Rother

  • Improvement Kata - 4step process

  • Elevate problems, swarm them

  • If you don't have enough learning, then you are getting behind

[ ] High velocity edge - Spears


Module 5 - safety culture

Aka resilience engineering

John Allspa


Dr Sydney Decker

"a culture that allows the people to give their boss bad news"

Safety 1: who caused the problem

Safety 2: what caused the problem

  • Blame vs learning


Inmates are Running the Asylum

  • We create very mean software


Normal Accidents

Just Culture - Dr Sydney Decker


How complex operations fail - devops perspective (blog)


Dr Erik Hollnecker

  • ETTO (efficiency thoroughness trade off)

  • Equilibrium


Google Sri story - error budgeting

  • Service level objective


Dr David Woods

  • Lots of different industries

  • Behind human error - book/paper

  • (Nobody understands his work, Dr Sydney decker Translates it, John does it extremely practical )

  • Dynamic fault management

  • Summary: when people are trying to deal with..., they use their mental models, the feedback is late, sometimes you need to fix even if that blocks your learning, it's very complex

  • Cf John's master's thesis at etsy


Velocity conference


Dr Cook's 18 points

Complex systems are

  1. Intrinsically hazardous

  2. Defended by us by building around it

  3. Catastrophe requires multiple failures

  4. Contain changing mixtures

  5. Run in integrated mode

  6. Catastrophe is always right around the corner

  7. Post accident attribution to root cause is fundamentally wrong

  8. Hindsight bias

  9. Human operators are producers and defenders

  10. All practitioner actions are gambles

  11. Actions at the sharp end, resolve all ambiguities

  12. Human practitioners are the adaptable elements

  13. Human expertise is constantly changing

  14. Change introduces new forms of failure

  15. Views of cause limit the effectiveness of defense against future defence

  16. Safety is a characteristic of the system, not the components

  17. People continuously create safety

  18. Failure free operations require experience with failure


Mike Nagards - Release it (book)

  • Circuit breaker pattern: Built in failure detection

  • Proactive design your failure modes


Netflix architecture

  • [x] Release it - dev

  • [ ] Drift into failure - ops



  • chaos monkey

  • Latency monkey

  • Conformity monkey

  • Security monkey

  • FIT (fault injection transaction)


[ ] Just Culture (justice) - Dr. Deckers

  • Punishing vs Restoritive culture

  • Bad apple theory

Other books

  • field guide to human error

  • Safety anarchist


Model: Blameless Postmortem

Dr. Westrom

The westrom organisational model

  1. Pathological: blame

  2. Bureaucratic: justice

  3. Retributive: genuine inquiry


Blameless post mortem

  • Etsy



Module 6 - Learning Organisations


The 5th discipline (difficult)

A field guide to learning organisations (difficult)


The 5 disciplines

  1. Personal mastery - self-improvement

  2. Mental models

  3. Systems thinking

  4. Building shared vision

  5. Team learning

Integration of 1-4


Is yours a learning organisation? (blog)

  • Psychological safety

  • Appreciation of differences

  • Opennees to ideas

  • Time for reflection (Slack time)

  • Education

  • Experimentation

  • Reinforcement of learning


Peter Senguei

Fast feedback loops


MIT beer game


Swarm problems

  • Build breaks



5 capability of transformational leadership

  1. Vision

  2. Intellectual stimulation - challenge status quo

  3. Inspiration

  4. Supportive leadership

  5. Personal recognition



"we're just at the beginning of a 20 to 30 year golden age" - Chris Little

[ ] Book: Technology revolutions and financial capital: the dynamics of bubbles and golden ages - karlada Perez

(not the easiest book to read, but definitely worth it)

4 macro

  1. Industrial revolution



  4. Ict revolution

Every 50 to 70 years.

There are 5 reasons these things happen

  1. Critical factor of production that becomes very cheap

  2. Creates a surge of infrastructure

  3. Laisser Faire, Wrenching innovation, Bubble

  4. Post bubble recession

  5. Period of consolidation and widespread gains, deployment period, most value created, with production capital



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