Competitive engineering

Tom Gilb 'Value Driven Management: some key principles for succeeding better than most in technical work and in business'. Serhiy Kovela describes an evening with Tom Gilb.

The evening of 18th February saw an audience gathered at Old Sessions House (Clerkenwell Green, London) for a seminar on state-of-the-art methods in software engineering management. This was the first event in the 'An Evening with...' series recently launched by the BCS Young Professionals Group to provide audiences with top quality discussion on essential issues in modern IT and establish grounds for informal learning and networking.

The author of many books on competitive engineering, software engineering management, and software inspection, Tom Gilb is most renowned for his software engineering management method, Evo, focusing on 'real and useful value and results delivered to stakeholders' through measured and evolutionary delivery of new product features.

Addressing the issues of why software projects fail and what one would need to succeed Tom pitched his approach as universal and not relying on any particular tool or method which became a subject for live discussion as comparisons between popular methods and paradigms were being mentioned.

Audience with Tom Gilb Well received by the audience, the seminar ran well over the originally designated time as the author was bombarded with questions from the audience, testifying to just how engaging the presentation was.

The post-event evaluation of 'excellent' and 'good' (42 per cent and 50 per cent respectively) spotted comments running along the lines of '...a speaker with a formidable reputation talking about an area I wasn't aware of, but will now research...' and '...the comparisons made to traditional methodologies and how they correlated to real-world project failures (and of course how to prevent it!)…'

The only major concern expressed being about the somewhat short duration of the session. The brief official Q&A section came to a close giving way to the networking part where attendants continued discussion in an informal atmosphere.

The success of the event lends itself to a promise that the series has all the potential to produce many more fascinating and educating encounters.

Those interested in learning further about  software engineering management can do so by referring to Tom's latest book 'Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage'.

July 2008