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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concept Glossary!!! Breaking through the buzzwords.., 28 Oct 2007
By 
Bruce McNaughton (Oxfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
A concept glossary is an excellent idea. Many of the 'new' solutions today have different words for similar concepts. A concept glossary helps me understand what's behind the words.

I read Tom's book over a year ago and have explored may recent updates to best practice processes such as ITIL V3 and Managing Successful Programmes. At the heart of these best practice processes is the concept of requirements engineering!!! When I hit this area, I immediately pull out Tom's book to confirm I have interpreted the concepts correctly and can use the detailed approach to capturing requirements and driving them through the various processes.

I recommend Tom's book for anyone who wants to take a systems approach (holistic) to find solutions to difficult problems.

Regards,
Bruce McNaughton
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard work but worth it, 26 Jan 2006
By 
Clarke (Linlithgow, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
Tom has already written one classic - "Principles of Software Engineering Management". It's a nice easy reading book full of great ideas; I dip into it at random every so often and always find it inspiring.
This new book will one day be regarded as a classic too, but it is much harder to read. Tom says that he's been working on this book for the last decade and a half and it shows: it's packed full of fantastic ideas, observations and tips, but you do have to work to get them.
I work in "Agile" software development and, just like Agile, this book is hard work but it's worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A massive source of ideas, 5 Aug 2005
By 
Matthew Leitch (Epsom, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
There are people who suggest approaches to project management and design that seem more sophisticated or more grounded in generally accepted theory than Tom Gilb's. Tom's edge is that his ideas just work.
Competitive Engineering covers a huge range of topics clearly and with many detailed, helpful examples to show exactly what the techniques look like in practice.
My particular favourite is the section on design ideas. So much writing on systems engineering discusses design as if you can somehow analyse your way to the final design. I've always found that ideas are needed so the section on generating and sifting ideas is true to life and helpful to me.
The more you learn about Tom's methods the easier it is to see where so many organisations are going wrong.
Most people realise that getting benefits from systems projects is important but "benefits management" tends to be too superficial and too late to do much good. In Competitive Engineering Tom starts with the benefits to stakeholders and just never lets go.
This is a collection of techniques that work, put together into an overall, cohesive approach based on Tom's decades of consulting and invention.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational stuff!, 9 Sep 2005
By 
This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
Erik Simmons says in his foreword: "This stuff works". I've been using much of this stuff since 1994 and it does.
This book explains it better than anything other than Tom in person. Buy it. Read it. And then go and listen to Tom talk about it.
It will change your life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, 14 May 2013
By 
F. Olatunde (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
This is a book like everybody must have, it is a like bible that must be reading everyday and put in practice. God bless you Tom.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant guide to complex systems development, 13 Aug 2005
This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
This wonderful book explains how to deliver complex systems within time and budget, with a level of quality that will earn you a "wow!"
The book defines the five core processes of Competitive Engineering: Requirement Specification, Design Engineering, Specification Quality Control, Impact Estimation, and Evolutionary Project Management. It includes plenty of practical advice and lots of real-world examples. At the back you'll find a detailed glossary that contains precise definitions and detailed explanations of hundreds of the key concepts used in the book.
I loved the style, which is clear, practical and precise. I found it a demanding but very worthwhile read, not least because of the high density of ideas per chapter. There are things to think hard about on almost every page. Gilb's decades of practical experience in complex systems development are evident throughout the book.
Strongly recommended.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thinking... further ;o), 12 Mar 2006
This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
In a period where the trend is to follow agile approaches with condensed guidance (see the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto for instance), it could seem strange to publish a book on software development with more than 500 dense pages. You should however not be frightened by this book. Beneath the size and the structured form lies an approach based on practical experience that incorporates change and flexibility without abandoning the quest for precision and delivering value.
The main concept of Competitive Engineering is Planguage, a word created mixing plan and language. Communication is the basis for working together. This is why Tom Gilb emphasises first the creation of a common vocabulary. He states that his glossary could be considered as the best contribution of this book. Beneath the definition of a common language, for me the "hidden agenda" of the book is to help us to think... further. The common language is only a tool that helps us express our thoughts more precisely and completely.
Fortunately for us, Tom Gilb didn't only write a dictionary of system engineering. A large part of the book is devoted to the activities of system engineering and project management. Based on Planguage, Gilb gives us a framework to elicit clearer requirements. He emphasises a measurable vision ("bad numbers beat good words") and presents tools to achieve this objective. He also helps us separate requirements from design. He devotes an entire chapter to quality control. Finally, there is a presentation of the techniques of evolutionary project management that supports incremental development based on the priority and impact techniques described in previous parts of the book.
In every chapter you will find examples and case studies that help to visualise how the concepts translate into practice. There is also an "additional ideas" part that presents material for further thinking. Beneath the seriousness of the topic, Gilb also manage to place some lighter parts and you will find how to compare seriously apples with oranges.
At the end, your realise that you have a book where process is not opposed to people, structure is not opposed to flexibility, precision is not opposed to allowing change, documentation is not opposed to active refinement, Gilb's proposed solution is not opposed to customisation for you needs. It is just a book that gives you new inspiration to deliver better software solutions to your customer.
If you are interested in software process improvement, you can read this book from the beginning and find practical material to examine your current practices with a different vision. If you are a lonesome project manager or developer, you could begin by just using the index to get Gilb's view on your current activity or problem. Be cautious, because there are many chances that you will be tempted to read more material ;o)
After reading this book, I browsed again my old copy of "Principles of Software Engineering" that I bought when it was published in 1988. I saw that many ideas from "Competitive Engineering" where already presented in this book. Tom Gilb just applied to his ideas the same concepts he proposes for system engineering. He refined, expanded and structured them to get a better product. The printing industry has just prevented evolutionary delivery, but you can bet that he will find a way to include this in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A clear practical approach to turning organisational objectives and system requirements into something that drives achievement, 22 July 2013
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Too often we become caught up in the theory and wordsmithing of objectives and requirements - this approach provides a clear framework to drive action and achievement.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hard work, but worth the effort, 26 Jan 2006
By 
Clarke (Linlithgow, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
Tom has already written one classic - "Principles of Software Engineering Management". It's a nice easy reading book full of great ideas; I dip into it at random every so often and always find it inspiring.
This new book will one day be regarded as a classic too, but it is much harder to read. Tom says that he's been working on this book for the last decade and a half and it shows: it's packed full of fantastic ideas, observations and tips, but you do have to work to get them.
I work in "Agile" software development and, just like Agile, this book is hard work but it's worth it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing experience, 28 Sep 2005
By 
Tino Rachui - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage (Paperback)
Other reviewer before me already said it and I second it - this book may be life changing. I work in the StarOffice development at Sun Microsystems and can definitely say that the ideas of this book had a deep impact on our work. Convince yourself I'm sure you will not be disappointed.
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