My quick review of “The Devops Handbook”, co-writen by Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois and John Willis.

The Devops Handbook — Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, John Willis The Devops Handbook — Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, John Willis

“The Devops Handbook” starts introducing Agile and the three ways: flow, feedback, and continual learning and experimentation. If you have read “The Phoenix Project”, you are already familiar with those – if not, you’ll get here a good idea of these principles.

After a section about the value stream you should concentrate your efforts on, on how to design an organization and architecture, or how to get great outcomes by integratings operations into the daily work of development (well, “DevOps”, remember?), each following section of the book is about one of these three ways.

For the first way, you’ll read about technical practices of flow: creating a deployment pipeline, setup fast and reliable automated testing, work on continuous integration, and, finally, how to target low-risk releases. For the second way, you’ll read about the technical practices of feedback: creating telemetry to be able to detect and solve issues, using it to anticipate problems, and using feedback to safely deploy code. You will also read how reviews can help increase quality and how to use all this to setup A/B testing. For the third and last way, it’s time to see the technical practices of continual learning and experimentation.

The last section of “The Devops Handbook” deals with matters such as information security, compliance and change management – issues we sometime think would not fit well in a DevOps approach nor in short feedback cycles and continuous integration and deployment.

All along the book, we see how these principles have been put into action at well-known companies such as Netflix, Flickr or Etsy – including, in some cases, which tools they developed to answer their needs and then open-sourced. Ever heard of “Chaos Monkey”1 or “Morgue”?

45 This book contains a lot of interesting ideas and practices that will help your company and projects – or, more likely, that will help you help them. It presents many examples where those practices have been successfully put in place. I’m not going up to 55 as I felt it was sometimes a bit too theorical and could have contained more practical notes on how to set things up2.

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I bought this book right after I finished reading “The Phoenix Project”, also co-authored by Gene Kim. It’s more like a story than “The Devops Handbook” and I enjoyed reading it.


  1. I keep dreaming of the day I’ll be able to release Chaos Monkey in my production environment and things will just keep working fine… [return]
  2. At the same time, I’m fully aware this kind of information becomes outdated much too fast for a book. [return]