Work principles to follow from “The Phoenix Project” book

Valentina Roman
3 min readNov 6, 2020


Photo by dashu83 on

The last few months have been challenging for all of us. Many still wonder about how technology and fresh thinking will help on reinventing work.

I’ve somehow remembered about reading “The Phoenix Project” by Gene Kim and felt the need to share with you some of my notes.

This book gathered some attention in time, lots of good and bad reviews. It brought me a very interesting perspective on business objectives, team politics and project management. At first hand, it seemed more like a technical reading, but in fact it is very interesting and easy to read (I listened it on Audible) even for someone who does not work in IT. I personally considered it like a pinch of salt to my professional growth.

Briefly, the book follows the story of Bill, an IT manager that has to save his company from collapse. In the process, he embarks on a transformational journey to clear the firefighting mode everyone is on.

Bellow you will find some ideas I’ve extracted to follow as work & personal life principles. Hope you will find them inspiring :)

  • Improving daily work is even more important than doing daily work.
  • Firefighting or unplanned work is the most dangerous type of work. This work is what really stops other things from being done, from working on the company’s top priorities.
  • Documentation is key. This not only helps us in the future, but also helps others to find an answer to a future question, to earn time.
  • Repetition creates habits and habits are what enable mastery.
  • Clarity and consistency are the keys to building anything.
  • Wisdom is knowing the long-term consequences of your actions.
  • Always seek to understand how things work.
  • It almost doesn’t matter what you improve, as long as you are improving something day by day.
  • Action inspire others.
  • For a company to change its way of working, its culture must change. Not just its processes.
  • Trust is necessary for systems thinking and is often built during activities that might seem unproductive at first glance.
  • If you aren’t willing to fail, you can’t learn.
  • Having proper change management processes (that people actually understand the importance of using) enables the company to be more agile.
  • It is important for every department in the company to understand that they’re quality of work has an impact on the entire business.

I’m sure that by reading “The Phoenix Project”, everyone will find different perspectives. That’s where the value of this book really lies. It’s not a step-by-step instruction manual, but it is a story that makes you think. Some chapters are dense with some software-world terminology, but others focus on the relationships between characters and inner monologues. It’s a beautiful synergy of hard and soft skills, revealing how the technical and human sides of work combine.



Valentina Roman

Project manager from Romania ☀️ Travelling through life as a journey of learning ✈️