Find The Parade

When Gene Kim approached me with his manuscript for The Phoenix Project, I was skeptical.  He was halfway into writing a novel for technology workers. In our meetings, Gene kept talking about DevOps and how it was going to change large organizations.

I’d never heard of DevOps, so I did some searching. There were articles talking about bringing development and operations together. It reminded me of Lean from the 1990’s when there was so much effort to get engineering on the same page as manufacturing. All of it was interesting but not strong proof of interest in DevOps.

Then, I did a quick search on There were meet-ups in our hometown of Portland. I expanded the geographic area and found there were over 100 meet-ups already happening around the world. I was amazed. Here were thousands of people who were already self-organizing into groups to talk about DevOps.  When I asked Gene about it, he said, “I had no idea.” Visiting DevOps meet-up groups around the country became a regular activity after The Phoenix Project launched.

Books that do well often arrive in front of a parade that has already formed.  I got that metaphor for Marty Neumeier in his book Zag. Quoting Marty’s mother, the job of a leader is to “…[J]ust find a parade and get in front of it.”

Harry Potter’s popularity rode the largest wave of children reaching middle school in U.S. history. Fire and Fury is the best selling book of 2018, fueled by discontent with the current presidential administration. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In served as a focal point for the conversation that millions of women wanted to have about inequity in the workplace.

The readers are waiting; you just need to write the book for them.

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