10 Books We Enjoyed Reading In 2016

While we love attending events, meeting IT practitioners or catching up on the latest tech news, books are our favorite medium for wrestling with ideas. Here are ten books (a few published in 2015) that got us thinking this year. Some had us nodding in agreement while others had us re-examining our mental models.

Process

How do IT Ops teams create the right processes to deploy more frequently? That too, at lower failure rates and with faster mean time to recovery? These four books help you win with strong and transparent organizational cultures.

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

The DevOps Handbook

Authors: Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Debois, John Willis
Publisher: IT Revolution Press

"In almost every IT organization, there is an inherent conflict between Development and IT Operations which creates a downward spiral, resulting in ever-slower time to market for new products and features, reduced quality, increased outages, and, worst of all, an ever-increasing amount of technical debt.”

Gartner believes 50% of organizations using DevOps will not reach the benefits that they hoped to achieve. How do you succeed at your DevOps initiatives? The DevOps Handbook breaks the downward spiral between Dev and Ops teams. The Three Ways (Flow, Feedback and Continual Learning and Experimentation) explain how to increase developer productivity while maintaining operational reliability and security. 

 

 

Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems

Site Reliability Engineering

Authors: Betsy Beyer, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff, Niall Richard Murphy
Publisher: O'Reilly Media

"What exactly is Site Reliability Engineering, as it has come to be defined at Google? My explanation is simple: SRE is what happens when you ask a software engineer to design an operations team.”

How does Google process 3.5 billion searches every day and serve 5 billion videos every day on YouTube? Google’s secret sauce for planet-scale operations is Site Reliability Engineering. Understand how automation, service level objectives, blameless postmortems and error budgets help Google deliver large scale, complicated services.  

 

 

Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale

Lean Enterprise

Authors: Jez Humble, Joanne Molesky, Barry O'Reilly  
Publisher: O'Reilly Media

"The long-term value of an enterprise is not captured by the value of its products and intellectual property but rather by its ability to continuously increase the value it provides to customers—and to create new customers—through innovation.”

Did you know that 75% of the S&P 500 will be extinct by 2027? The Lean Enterprise is your guide to ensuring the long-term survival of your company. Learn how to build a culture of experimentation, portfolio management and end-to-end flow for sustainable competitive advantage. A great case study is GOV.UK, a single domain for all central government services. GOV.UK merged information across thousands of government websites for efficient citizen services. Internal teams used agile and iterative approaches to launch the website at record speed. 

 

 Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale

Leading The TransformationAuthors: Gary Gruver, Tommy Mouser  
Publisher: IT Revolution Press

“The net result is that most large, traditional organizations are finding it more and more difficult to compete in the marketplace and deliver the software innovations that their businesses require. Their current software delivery approaches are constraining their businesses and limiting their ability to compete.”

How did HP’s LaserJet product team reduce development costs by $45 million per year? And, how did HP cut costs but still enable 140% increase in the number of products supported? Leading The Transformation explains how large companies can achieve innovation and quicker time to value with agile and DevOps practices.

 

 

 Strategy

Forrester predicts digital channels will influence 47% of your revenues in 2020. How do you prepare for a world gone digital? Our three books help you embrace the digital revolution with the right strategic mindset.

Digital to the Core: Remastering Leadership for Your Industry, Your Enterprise, and Yourself

Digital to the CoreAuthors: Mark Raskino,Graham Waller
Publisher: Routledge

"Digital business will cause deeper business change than Internet technology created in the past. You will need to take digital right to the core of everything you know and rely on.”

Did you know that equipment manufacturer Babolat's Play racquet helps tennis stars like Rafael Nadal analyze, decode and improve their game? The mantra of Digital to the Core is that 'every industry will be digitally mastered.’ With case studies from GE, Ford, Seoul National University and BBVA bank, it's clear that no industry will be immune to digital transformation. Remap your industry, remodel your enterprise and remake yourself today to survive and prosper in the digital tsunami.

 

 

The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age

The Digital Transformation PlaybookAuthor: David L. Rogers
Publisher: Columbia University Press

"Digital transformation is not about technology—it is about strategy and new ways of thinking. Transforming for the digital age requires your business to upgrade its strategic mindset much more than its IT infrastructure.”

Why did music sales drop from $28 billion in 1999 to $16 billion in 2012? The MP3 format allowed music lovers to compress audio files with no loss in quality. The music industry tried its best to stop customers from using MP3 files. The record companies finally admitted defeat in 2003 when they joined hands with Apple to launch the iTunes store. Digital business is shattering strategic assumptions across customers, competition, data, innovation and value. The Digital Transformation Playbook helps you reimagine and reinvent your business for a digital age.

 

 The New IT: How Technology Leaders are Enabling Business Strategy in the Digital Age

The New ITAuthor: Jill Dyche
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

"IT is at a moment when its future is being redefined, and its cultural power is shifting to a new set of gatekeepers... Who are these new gatekeepers? They fall into two classes, business units and customers, and their dominance in the IT conversation is growing.” 

82% of CEOs believe that the IT departments could play a more strategic role. The New IT provides you with a transformation toolkit for setting strategy, rethinking your IT portfolio and creating the right organizational models. Most IT organizations operate tactically where they only focus on fulfillment. Learn how to shift to an IT Everywhere mindset where IT is woven into business strategy.

 

 

Technology

The biggest challenge facing IT teams today is to scale rapidly without compromising stability. Our three picks help you handle a growing customer base while ensuring system availability and reliability.

Amazon Web Services in Action

Amazon Web Services in ActionAuthors: Andreas Wittig, Michael Wittig
Publisher: Manning Publications

"Because AWS has an API, you can automate everything: you can write code to create networks, start virtual server clusters, or deploy a relational database. Automation increases reliability and improves efficiency.”

AWS is the biggest player in the public cloud space, clocking $13 billion in 2016 revenues. IT operations teams trying to make sense of AWS should pick up a copy of Amazon Web Services in Action. Tap into on-demand and scalable computing resources by taking a tour of the most popular AWS services.   

 

 Infrastructure as Code: Managing Servers in the Cloud

Infrastructure as CodeAuthor: Kief Morris
Publisher: O'Reilly Media

"The enabling idea of Infrastructure as Code is that the systems and devices used to run software can be treated as if they, themselves, are software.”

Kief Morris is cloud practice lead at ThoughtWorks, where he helps customers build programmable, automated and self-service infrastructure. How do IT Ops teams spin up dynamic and reliable IT infrastructure using the latest cloud and virtualization technologies? Learn how infrastructure change management pipelines help you provision infrastructure, keep systems consistent and get immediate feedback for every change.

 

Architecting for Scale: High Availability for Your Growing Applications

Architecting for Scale

Author: Lee Atchison
Publisher: O'Reilly Media

"There is a direct and meaningful correlation between system availability and customer satisfaction.”

How do you scale your applications without crippling downtime, brownouts and technical debt? Architecting for Scale is the definitive guide for delivering highly available and redundant applications. The concept of “two mistakes high” helps you identify failure modes by understanding dependencies across application layers. Mapping dependencies for primary and backup systems ensures that you don’t compromise system availability.

 

Bonus: Revisionist History

Host: Malcolm Gladwell
Publisher: Panoply Media

"We like to think good ideas spread because they are good, because their advantages are obvious, but that’s not true. So why don’t they?”

The best selling author of Blink, Outliers and The Tipping Point is back with a podcast! Revisionist History has a tagline “because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.”

Gladwell has long used weighty social science ideas to illustrate real world phenomena. Revisionist History employs academic theories like moral licensing to highlight sexism or threshold models of collective behavior to explain why basketball players don’t shoot underhand. Do yourself a favor and download all the episodes for your morning commute.