Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage Paperback – 16 Aug 2005
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“This stuff works. Competitive Engineering contains powerful tools that are both practical and simple - a rare combination. Over the last decade, I have applied Tom Gilb's tools in a variety of settings including product development, service delivery, manufacturing, site construction, IT, eBusiness, quality marketing, and management, on projects of various sizes. Thousands of engineers have been through Competitive Engineering training and Planguage workshops that I have authored. The vast majority of students immediately recognize their value and go on to use them beneficially on projects. Competitive Engineering is based on decades of practical experience, feedback, and improvement, and it shows.
― Erik Simmons, Intel Corporation, Requirements Engineering Practice Lead, Corporate Quality Network
“Fundamentally, the book presents a new take on best practices in systems engineering and management… The book passed my value-added test, when I realized that I was photocopying several pages for future reference, to be part of my “toolkit of helpful tips and techniques. I particularly enjoyed reading the 10 often witty, summary principles in each chapter…Perseverance pays off with Competitive Engineering. The book is not a quick read, which Tom acknowledges. You have to carefully study some of the pages to understand the concepts being presented. The reward occurs when you glean the nuggets of wisdom from the numerous practical examples, case studies, and Planguage examples. Tom’s way of presenting the CE concepts makes the book a useful addition to the systems engineer’s library.
― Jerry Huller, Raytheon
“I found Planguage to be an interesting and noble idea for the enhancement of communication in the product development environment…Systems engineering professionals wanting another perspective on applying SE techniques to real product development and those wanting to add additional techniques/ methods to their toolbox will gain most from this book. Readers should have a fundamental knowledge of systems engineering principles and some practical product development experience to realize the full value of this work. I found the chapters describing "Impact Estimation", "Evolutionary Project Management" and "Specification Quality Control" to be specifically relevant and ripe for application to various product development environments.
Overall, the book passes my acid test as a useful reference for Systems engineering professionals... Tom meets his objectives in providing a current definition of Planguage concepts and providing a handbook of fundamental SE principles ready for application with his practical experience and unique product development perspective.
― Martin Coe President-Closed Loop Engineering, Technical Program Director- INCOSE Colorado
“…for those professionals serious about tackling the requirements specification effort in any real project. I am excited about it. He offers his Planguage for structuring the system engineering process and gets at issues of risk, success and failure criteria and evolutionary project development in a rational way. This book is a must read, re-read and study for students and practitioners working in the murky area of mapping the problem domain to the solution domain…It is, as promised, a Handbook. Buy it, and you will use it. It will not collect dust on your bookshelf. This book is a wonderful contribution to our Software Engineering literature.
― ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, January 2006
“Competitive Engineering is an original, experience-based, stimulating, thought-provoking, entertaining, and well worth reading software engineering book.
― IMPROVE, Software Process Improvement Newsletter
“Tom Gilb, the father of the Evo methodology, shares his practical, real-world experience for enabling effective collaboration between developers, managers and stakeholders.
Although the book describes Planguage (a specification language for systems engineering) in detail, the methodological advice alone is worth the price of the book. Evo is one of the truly underappreciated agile methodologies, and as a result, Gilb's thought-provoking work isn't as well-known as it should be, although I suspect that that will change with this book. The book describes effective practices for requirements and design specification that are highly compatible with the principles and practices of Agile Modeling, yet it goes on to address planning activities, quality and impact estimation. I suspect that this book will prove to be one of the "must read" software development books of 2006.
― SD's Agile Modeling Newsletter, February 2006, By Scott W. Ambler, Ambysoft
“I found the rules, principles, and process descriptions associated with the Planguage method particularly interesting and helpful.
― Jayesh G. Dalal, Software Quality Professional, June-August 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Too much of one person's opinion rather than communicating established wisdom for my liking.Published 20 months ago by Steve
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.Published on 22 July 2013 by Mr. D. Thomson
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.Published on 14 May 2013 by F. Olatunde
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... Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2006 by CC
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