Measuring IT Planning Quality

The use of Agile Specification Quality Control to improve intelligibility of Requirements, and all other IT specifications, by an order of magnitude.

Wednesday 10 June (1 day course)

8.45am for 9.00am - Finishing around 5.00pm

BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps
(Approximately 10 minutes walk from Waterloo Station and Charring Cross Station)

BCS Members: Free of charge
Non-Members: £40.00 (including VAT @ 20%)

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. There is normally a waiting list for Tom’s courses.

Please bring, if possible, a laptop or tablet etc so you can access fully the presentation.

Tom Gilb Hon FBCS and Kai Gilb

Overview: Measuring IT Planning Quality

Professionals with this course will be given an  “Agile Inspection Leader Certification” have the skills to plan, execute and follow-up an Agile Inspection. They will know how to measure any technical specification or  document quality,  through the use of sampling, optimum checking rates, rules, procedures, and numeric entry and exit conditions. 

This skill set will add tremendous value to any authoring process where defects lead to large downstream costs.

Workshop mode: You will be in a team of about 3 people who will pick a document, organize an “Inspection” (aka Spec QC) of that document, then execute the Inspection, then estimate and evaluate the results of the Inspection. There will be about 50% lectures and 50% practical work on your teams project. At the end of the day, your team will present your teams work.

Qualifies for: Inspection Leader Certification


Subjects covered: (partly by lecture, partly by exercises)

  1. A case study of requirements QC at a major multinational: how to predict project delays at the beginning, correctly.
  2. The notion of rules for specification: an objective standard, to define ‘defects’.
  3. The notion of Checklists as a supplement to lean Rules.
  4. Data Collection during the Process
  5. Various calculations, estimates, engineering assumptions
  6. The notion of numeric exit control of specifications
  7. The Spec QC process: simplified (1 page) Agile method based on sampling, measurement and motivation to reduce defect injection
  8. Extensions to Spec QC process.
    • Estimating future project delays
    • Gradual, as written, QC
  9. SQC compared to testing and reviews
  10. Case study of sampling from major software supplier
  11. Case study from a major financial IT shop.
  12. Case Study at Intel (10 to 0.22 Majors/page before release, gives 300% productivity.
  13. (option) a demonstration of SQC on participant materials
  14. SQC and a QA Policy suggestion

Why you should attend

All too many systems and software engineering projects are doomed even before they leave the drawing board. They will exceed budgets, miss critical deadlines and fail to meet their requirements. A major cause for this familiar scenario is the large number of errors, defects and omissions is the untrained thinking in the original planning. This course addresses the problem.

International consultant, teacher and author, Tom Gilb together with Kai Gilb, have investigated this subject over many years.

Their collaboration and research with many of the world’s best-known multinational corporations has led to this somewhat worrying finding: there are over 100 major defects on each significant page of specifications, requirements and even contractual documents. The same defect densities apply to corporate business, technical and project plans. (That’s after those documents have received formal approval).

Those 100 plus ‘major’ defects per page, will with about 1/3 chance, cause cost increases of average 10 hours each, rework and delays in the subsequent execution and realization of those plans and specifications. We will be happy to demonstrate the truth of these findings with documents of your choice from your own organization.

In London (2003), we developed the ‘Agile’ SQC process to a large organisation responsible for IT development at a global US Financial Services firm. They used the process to reduce the average defect rate, in their specification documents, by 90% in a period of a few weeks (from 80.4 to 11 Majors/Page).

The Teachers

Tom Gilb and Kai Gilb

Tom Gilb and Kai Gilb have, together with many professional friends and clients, personally developed the Agile methods they teach. The methods have been developed over five decades of practice all over the world in both small companies and projects, as well as in the largest companies and projects. Their website offers free papers, slides, and cases about Agile and other subjects.

There are many organisations, and individuals, who use some or all of their methods. IBM and HP were two early corporate-wide adopters (1980, 1988). Recently (2012) over 15,000 engineers at Intel have voluntarily adopted the Planguage requirements specification methods; in addition to practicing to a lesser extent Evo, Spec QC and other Gilb methods.  Many other multinationals are in various phases of adopting and practicing the Gilb methods. Many smaller companies also use the methods.

Tom Gilb

Tom is the author of nine published books, and hundreds of papers on Agile and related subjects. His latest book ‘Competitive Engineering’ (CE) is a detailed handbook on the standards for the 'Evo' (Evolutionary) Agile Method, and also for Agile Spec QC. The CE book also, uniquely in the Agile community, defines an Agile Planning Language, called 'Planguage' for Quality Value Delivery Management. His 1988 book, Principles of Software Engineering Management (now in 20th Printing) is the publicly acknowledged source of inspiration from leaders in the Agile community (Beck, Highsmith, and many more), regarding iterative and incremental development methods. Research (Larman, Southampton University) has determined that Tom was the earliest published source campaigning for Agile methods (Evo) for IT and Software. His first 20-sprint agile (Evo) incremental value delivery project was done in 1960, in Oslo.

Tom has guest lectured at universities all over UK, Europe, China, India, USA, Korea - and has been a keynote speaker at dozens of technical conferences internationally.

Tom is an Honorary Fellow of the BCS.

Kai Gilb

Kai Gilb has partnered with Tom in developing these ideas, holding courses and practicing them with clients since 1992. He coaches managers and product owners, writes papers, develops the courses, and is writing his own book, ‘Evo - Evolutionary Project Management & Product Development.’ He also builds automated tools for Planguage and Evo.

Tom & Kai work well as a team, they approach the art of teaching their common methods somewhat differently. Consequently the students benefit from two different styles.