Books that inspire us.

The Lean Startup


Eric Ries has started a movement with this book.  He popularised the terms “Minimum Viable Product” and “Pivots” and pointed out how these concepts can be used in various contexts including Enterprise IT.  These ideas are powerful in themselves but are higher value when coupled with Agile and Gartner’s Pace Layering concepts


remote_bookAs a Remote working business, ValueFlow IT is very much in sync with the approaches described in this book.  We don’t need an office!  We interact in lots of ways – the technology is almost free…Of course we love to work on-site with clients but I think most would agree that commuting to sit in an office is overrated.  The trick is to find some cool places to hang out in the city where you can collaborate

Phoenix Project

phoenix-projectThis fictional tale applies constraints theory to the modern IT challenges and gives some very practical insights as the team revive IT and underpin – spoiler alert – the recovery of the business.  The concepts are a blend of Kanban, Agile and DevOps.  Written by Gene Kim, I guess you could expect that It would have some very robust underlying principles.  To sum up, this book is about increasing the flow of business value from technology.  Hey that has a nice ring to it ;-]

Innovators Prescription

inovpresThis one is for the disruptive business thinkers.  Clayton Christensen, the world renowned Harvard business academic, has applied his well tested theories to the problems of the USA health system.  A lofty pursuit and very well executed.  His disruptive innovation theory has been given an update for the book and is applicable to many different contexts, even starting a small consulting business…

Lean IT: Mike Orzen

leanitThis is a great book joining a lot of dots between Lean and various other framework such as ITIL.  Mike Orzen shows that he’s been around.  It is nice to see our old mate Steve Bittinger get a mention in the acknowledgements.  Steve is a long time advocate of Lean in IT and the Business.  One of the key takeaways of the book is the approach to organising by Value Streams.  This is similar to the cross functional teams proposed by Agile.   Orzen shows the relationship of the Service Catalogue to value streams in business terms and how we can organise to deliver to business expectations.  In some ways this parallels some of the thinking in SAFe and DevOps.

Enterprise Architecture As Strategy

entarchPeter Weill always impresses in any book with his name on it.  Nice to see an Aussie at the top of the IT Academic world as chairman at MIT Sloan.  This book proposes that Enterprise Architecture is not a target state but more of a decision making framework such that all technology architecture decisions converge the architecture toward a desired blueprint.  There are a variety of business models and enterprise architectures explore’d in very accessible language for the reader.  Much more accessible than the heavily “artefacted” TOGAF!

This is Service Design Thinking

servdesthinkThe concept of the service experience has emerged as a competitive differentiator for business.  This book introduces concepts and techniques that can help us walk in the shoes of the users of our IT services and design an experience that will delight and propel the user toward the destination they seek rather than tie them in knots. The website has lots of free tools that can help you roll your sleeves up and deliver value without too much experimentation!  We’ve woven this into IT Service Design in our ValueFlow IT MultiSpeed Operating Model™.  We just have to figure out who owns this process.  Is it the Service Owner, Application Designer or Architect?

Race Against the Machine

raceagainstBeing fans of the band of almost the same name, we had to include this one.  Brynjollfson is a much respected author and researcher and this book has received many accolades.  Whilst the name may evoke images of the Terminator or iRobot, it is actually very positive about the future of humanity and our machine counterparts.  He outlines how we might actually  – spoiler alert – race with machines toward a better future much in the way the industrial revolution has delivered great benefits.  This book doesn’t have immediate application to today’s IT challenges but it can help us sleep better knowing that the vacuum cleaner is not going to take over the house ;-]

Agile Software Requirements

agileThis is the book that underpins the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).  It deftly describes the approach for taking Agile up to the enterprise level where investment management, portfolio management, architecture, project management benefit from the principles of Lean and Agile.  This framework has the ability to accelerate the flow of product to market.  The trick is in how you couple this thinking to the rest of the IT shop that’s still working to the steady cadence of the SDLC.

We’d love to hear about books you have read and how you think they can be used in improving IT value.  Or, maybe it’s some cool theory or insights and we can riff on where it fits in the IT scheme of things?

What Inspires Us?

If you are in business and not talking Lean, you are probably getting left behind.

How do you work without an office? The trick is to find the right approach.

This fictional tale applies constraints theory to the modern IT challenges