6 DevOps Books for IT Professionals

  • Over the past year, enterprise implementation of DevOps has increased dramatically, and that trend looks likely to continue.

    The Interop ITX 2018 State of DevOps report found that 33% of enterprises surveyed had adopted DevOps principles, compared to just 18% who said the same thing in 2017. And another 35% said that they planned to start using DevOps tools and methodologies within the next year, meaning that by 2019, a full two-thirds of the organizations surveyed could be using DevOps approaches.

    However, that doesn’t mean that everyone understands what DevOps is all about.

    The same survey found that less than half of those surveyed (47%) considered themselves “very familiar” with the details of DevOps concepts. A majority (53%) said that they either only understood the basics, had a general idea of what DevOps is all about or were not at all familiar with the approach.

    If you’re part of that majority, one way to increase your familiarity with DevOps is to read some of the many books written on the topic. This slideshow features five of the best DevOps books available and one business book that sheds light on key related concepts. Two of these books are novels, which makes them particularly engaging, but all of them are well-written and accessible even by people who aren’t familiar with DevOps. Some have won awards, and they’ve all been best-sellers in their categories.

    DevOps is a broad category, and not everyone agrees about what does and does not qualify as a DevOps approach. However, the authors of these books are recognized experts who shed valuable light on the topic. So if you’re looking for a good book to read this summer that could also be helpful for your career, you might want to start with one of these.

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  • 1. The Phoenix Project

    Full Title: The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

    Authors: Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

    First Published: 2013

    Buy on Amazon

    If you are only going to read one book about DevOps, many would recommend that you choose this one. Now in its 5th Anniversary Edition, the novel follows the adventures of an IT manager named Bill who comes to see the similarities between what he does and factory work. Because it's fiction, the book is more accessible than many non-fiction books on the subject, and although it's long, it's a fast and engaging read. Don't expect a literary masterpiece, but do expect a well-written story that sells you on the major concepts of the DevOps movement.

  • 2. The DevOps Handbook

    Full Title: The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations

    Authors: Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, and John Willis

    First Published: 2016

    Buy on Amazon

    Gene Kim's follow-up to The Phoenix Project, The DevOps Handbook is non-fiction aimed at helping businesses implement DevOps. It focuses on the “Three Ways” that are crucial to a DevOps implementation: Systems Thinking, Feedback Loops, and Continual Learning and Experimentation. It includes more than 40 case studies drawn from companies like Amazon, Etsy, Capital One, Google, Facebook, Intuit and Nationwide Insurance. It gets 4.5 stars from Amazon reviewers, and it was named “Best DevOps Book of the Year” in 2016.

  • 3. Continuous Delivery

    Full Title: Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases Through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation

    Authors: Jez Humble and David Farley

    First Published: 2010

    Buy on Amazon

    Useful for both Agile and DevOps teams, this book delves into the more technical aspects of automating the deployment pipeline. “Whether or not your software development team already understands that continuous integration is every bit as necessary as source code control, this is required reading,” said Lisa Crispin, co-author of Agile Testing. “This book is unique in tying the whole development and delivery process together, providing a philosophy and principles, not just techniques and tools. The authors make topics from test automation to automated deployment accessible to a wide audience. Everyone on a development team, including programmers, testers, system administrators, DBAs, and managers, needs to read this book.” Although the book is now several years old, it offers a very relevant overview of the key issues related to continuous software delivery.

  • 4. The DevOps Adoption Playbook

    Full Title: The DevOps Adoption Playbook: A Guide to Adopting DevOps in a Multi-Speed IT Enterprise

    Author: Sanjeev Sharma

    First Published: 2017

    Buy on Amazon

    The 2017 DevOps Book of the Year, The DevOps Adoption Playbook offers hands-on practical advice for implementing DevOps at a very large, established organization, which is very different than DevOps adoption at a startup. Author Sharma’s experience as IBM’s Global CTO for DevOps Adoption has given him deep insight into what it takes to lead an enterprise through a DevOps transformation. He’s also a frequent speaker at DevOps conferences and the author of DevOps for Dummies, which is available as a free download from IBM.

  • 5. Effective DevOps

    Full Title: Effective DevOps: Building a Culture of Collaboration, Affinity, and Tooling at Scale

    Authors: Jennifer Davis and Ryn Daniels

    First Published: 2016

    Buy on Amazon

    The most difficult part of any DevOps adoption is the cultural transformation, and that’s the focus for this book. It offers workable strategies for changing culture and explores the four pillars of effective DevOps. It also delves deeper into the cultural issues of collaboration, hiring, affinity and tools. And as many IT book readers will be able to tell at a glance, it’s an O’Reilly book that features both the publisher’s distinctive cover design and its authoritative treatment of the subject matter.

  • 6. The Goal

    Full Title: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

    Authors: Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

    First Published: 1984

    Buy on Amazon

    The oldest book on our list, The Goal isn’t really about DevOps and actually predates the DevOps movement by several decades. However, this business novel introduces several key concepts that are fundamental to the DevOps movement, including the idea that businesses should set goals that set them on the path toward ongoing improvement. A review in The Economist noted, “A survey of the reading habits of managers found that though they buy books by the likes of Tom Peters for display purposes, the one management book they have actually read from cover to cover is The Goal.”