Influencers | episode 440

"The Unicorn Project" Author Gene Kim

Gene Kim is a former CTO, researcher, and author who has been studying high performing IT organizations for over two decades. His latest book is The Unicorn Project: a novel about developers, digital disruption, and thriving in the age of data, and it is the much-anticipated follow-up to his widely read book, The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win. Gene has written several other books and was previously the founder and CTO of Tripwire. March 09, 2020

440: In this interview, Gene Kim elaborates on each of the five ideals the book introduces, which are locality and simplicity, focus, flow, and joy, the improvement of daily work, psychological safety, and customer focus. For each one, he provides his definition, examples of it working and not working, and explains why it is important. We also discuss why the days of taylorism, project management, and people treating others as fungible and replaceable resources is coming to an end, why he writes his books as novels, among other topics.


For whatever fluke of evolution, stories are the most powerful way to create and activate the mirror neurons in someone else.

The World Class IT principles in yellow were the focus of this interview

  • 01 1- People
  • 02 2- Infrastructure
  • 03 3- Project and Portfolio Management
  • 04 4- IT & Business Partnership
  • 05 5- External Partnerships

From strategy to implementation

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