Start Up Planning: Quality Quantification


Monday 19 - Tuesday 20 May 2014 (2 day course)

8.45am for 9.00am - 5.00pm

BCS, 1st floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps

Free of charge for BCS Members and £40 including VAT for Non-BCS members.

If you book, and are unable to attend, please cancel your booking via the BCS site and also contact Soheir Ghallab, who is our committee member looking after Tom's courses.

Tom Gilb Hon FBCS and Kai Gilb

How to clarify a Startup’s Critical Qualitative Objectives and The impact of proposed Strategies, quantitatively on those qualitative objectives. An ‘engineering’ approach to complex new technologies and rapid growth into unknown markets.


Startup Company founders love their cause. But in order to succeed quickly they might like to get some help in presenting and articulating their ideas. Both to others, to investors, and to themselves.

The central idea of this course is to teach how to quantify your top few critical objectives, for your startup project, and for your startup product.

These are likely to be ‘qualitative’, like ‘capture the hearts and minds of teenagers’, or ‘provide a platform for entry into the automotive market’.

Most people do not know how to clarify and quantify such objectives. We will show you how.

Based on these quantitatively clear objectives, we will show you how to estimate, then measure and track, the multiple impacts of your critical few strategies and design ideas.

These tactics will result in the following:

1. Much better ability to communicate with your partners and startup team about what you are trying to achieve. The team gets an unambiguous common understanding.
2. Much better ability to communicate to all external parties: suppliers, potential employees, investors, about the startup, and its current state of accomplishment.
3. Better ability to motivate investors to fund you.
4. Better ability to learn rapidly and pivot when necessary
5. Better ability to manage the product and service development, however complicated it may get.

The subjects:

Day 1: The Startup Objectives, and its Project Requirements

Purpose: to give you the ability to quantify and clarify your critical objectives and requirements. Much better than you normally would.


1. Company Goals: the accomplishments that set you apart.
2. Stakeholder levels, critical needs.
3. Product and Service requirements: making them measurable, and ambitious, and avoiding premature commitment to bad technology.
4. How to quantify, and clarify, any quality concept
5. A planning language for presenting and discussing your ideas.

Result of 1st day: a good beginners understanding of how to clarify and quantify all your business and technical objectives competitively, independently of the strategies and technologies necessary to reach them.

Coaching, self study, team study, practical experience or follow-up will be needed to develop these skills.

Day 2: How to evaluate strategies and designs quantitatively.

Purpose:to help you evaluate the stream of ideas for reaching your objectives in a logical, balanced, and clear way.


1. How to estimate the power of all ‘means’ in relation to all ‘ends’.
2. How to relate product requirements to your startup objectives quantitatively
3. How to use an Impact Estimation Table to

a. choose between major strategies and architectures
b. prioritize the sequence of implementation of ideas
c. track incremental progress towards success
d. the learn what works and what does not, quickly
e. to understand the level of risk in your choices
f. to communicate externally, for example to investors.

Result of 2nd Day: You will have a basic ability to evaluate any ideas, designs, strategies, architectures, and suggestions from any sources: logically, quantitatively and with regard to risk.

Coaching, self study, team study, practical experience or follow-up will be needed to develop these skills.

You and your team might, depending on local circumstances and availability, to get help after the course in making initial plans tailored to your startup. Some people, however, can do a great job without such followup, just based on the course alone.

A digital library with voluminous papers, course slides, case studies, will be made available during and after the course, in a dropbox. This includes two textbooks by the instructors.

Course Instructors:

  • Detailed overview:
  • Tom and Kai Gilb have been assisting projects and startups in a wide variety of industries, in many countries, for decades.
  • They have developed their own methods: as a result of this practice, and because they believe that most other popular methods are seriously lacking in the ability to deal with qualities and costs in an ‘engineering’ fashion.
  • These methods are adopted by large corporations for their projects, many of which are essentially small team startups. These include Intel, HP, IBM, Philips Medical Systems and Boeing.
  • A recent example of a small startup is out of an Imperial College Incubator. They were told by their advisors that they should use our methods to be sure to get a $1 million funding from Bill and Melinda Gates. They did (Sept 2013) and also won numerous awards for startups.
  • Our methods are very close to the principles of ‘Lean Startup’ and give a good (quantified) basis for practicing it.

Tom Gilb

Tom Gilb Hon FBCS has mainly worked within the software engineering community, but since 1983 with Corporate Top Management problems, and since 1988 with large-scale systems engineering (Aircraft, Telecoms and Electronics).

He is an independent teacher, consultant and writer. He has published nine books, including the early coining of the term "Software Metrics" (1976) which is the recognised foundation ideas for IBM CMM/SEI CMM/CMMI Level 4.

He is recognised as the founder or major driver of several technical disciplines such as software metrics and evolutionary project management, as well as being an innovative pioneer in Inspections, and the inventor of the planning language Planguage. He is directly recognised as the idea source for parts of the Agile and Extreme programming methods (primarily the incremental cycles). The latest copy of the BCS ITNow (page 7), credited Tom Gilb Hon FBCS with the beginning in 1985 of the Agile approach.

Tom and Kai Gilb have recently developed their own Agile Inspections and Agile Evolutionary Project Management processes, that are being successfully used by clients.