SPE BoK

What Is The SPE Body Of Knowledge

Simply speaking, Performance Engineering is the art and science of building systems that perform and scale. Technically speaking, Performance Engineering as a discipline describes or recommends a set of roles, processes, activities and deliverables that need to be performed by teams when building systems with a focus on meeting the documented or agreed Non Functional Requirements. This SPE BoK or Systems Performance Engineering Body Of Knowledge is an attempt at –

  • Laying down a process framework that organizations and professionals around the world can adopt with the aim of integrating Proactive Performance Management principles into their Software Development Life Cycle.
  • Providing a career development framework (CDF for PE) for Performance Engineering aimed at helping professionals with interests in Systems Performance identify potential career tracks that they could focus on and advance their interests in Performance Engineering including Proactive Performance Management.
  • Recommending certification tracks that address the need for certified skills and capabilities to support SPE activities across the development life cycle

The Performance Engineering framework does not intend to be everything for everyone instead it aims to be a set of best practice recommendations for Proactive Performance Management that organizations could implement towards ensuring that they have fewer Performance & Capacity issues to address at the end of the SDLC. Thus reducing waste and optimizing investment of resources across the Software Development Life Cycle.

So Why Create A Body Of Knowledge

The practices of Software Engineering, Software Performance Engineering and Proactive Performance Management have existed for decades. In more ways that one, the seeds of Proactive Performance Management were sown by Dr. Connie Smith in her initial book on Software Performance Engineering titled, “Performance Engineering of Software Systems, The SEI Series“. The concept of designing, building and delivering applications that scale have existed informally for decades. However, over the last couple of decades:

  • Applications and application architectures have gone from being simple Single/Multi-tier to being highly distributed in nature.
  • While the cost of computing infrastructure has exponentially decreased, the complexity of application architectures has exponentially increased at a much faster rate
  • The interconnected economies of today has led to quick and rapid changes constantly moving through our interconnected markets resulting in ever shortening product cycles
  • Short product cycles rarely give development teams enough of time to focus on both functionality and performance.
  • Performance unfortunately is least tangible during the development cycle. It’s only when things go pear shaped do teams realize the important of investing in performance

As professionals with interests in Performance Engineering and Proactive Performance Management we find ourselves and our customers customer reinventing the wheel every project we work on. Experience tells us that projects tend to spend 3-6x fixing poor performance at the end of the SDLC. Performance like most other Non Functional Requirements can’t be easily retro fitted into an application once it has gone live.

Who Can Contribute

Our aim is to open up the PE BoK to a larger group of individuals, professionals, academics, researchers and organizations. This will happen once we’ve have laid the foundation and have the basic building blocks in place. For further information drop me a note at trevor at practical performance analyst dot com.

What Initiatives Will The SPE BoK Focus On

The initiatives the Performance Engineering Body Of Knowledge will focus on includes:

  • Career Development Framework – Framework recommending career roadmap options for professionals with interests in Performance Engineering
  • Process Definition Framework – Framework recommending Activities, Processes, Roles, Responsibilities & Deliverables across the SDLC with a focus on Performance
  • Certification Framework – Certification Guidelines including recommendations on Course Structure and content

Updates on the SPE BoK will be provided through this page as the BoK evolves.

Please send your feedback on the Performance Engineering Body Of Knowledge to the above team. You can reach out to us with your questions, comments, input and feedback over email. Practical Performance Analyst


Trevor Warren is passionate about challenging the status-quo and finding reasons to innovate. Over the past 16 years he has been delivering complex systems, has worked with very large clients across the world and constantly is looking for opportunities to bring about change. Trevor constantly strives to combine his passion for delivering outcomes with his ability to build long lasting professional relationships. You can learn more about the work he does at LinkedIn. You can download a copy of his CV at VisualCV. Visit the Github page for details of the projects he’s been hacking with.


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