Tag Archives: Systems Engineering


Tailoring a Large Organization’s Systems Engineering Process to Meet Project-Specific Needs

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Authors: Matthew Graviss, Shahram Sarkani, and Thomas A. Mazzuchi

Systems engineers are faced with the difficult challenge of adhering to broad systems engineering (SE) policies, while simultaneously tailoring SE processes to meet the unique challenges facing their projects. Tailoring is often performed in an ad hoc manner. Determining which stages, steps, and artifacts of the process are necessary can be time-consuming and challenging. SE guidebooks across industry and government organizations often stress the importance of tailoring, yet offer little practical guidance on how to perform the function. This article proposes a model for automating the SE tailoring process through the definition of an organizational rule set and a minimal set of project-specific inputs. The model is then analyzed through several case studies within the Department of Homeland Security to evaluate the proposed approach.

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3rd Bi-Annual Systems Engineering in Washington D.C. (SEDC 2016) Conference

The 3rd Bi-Annual Systems Engineering in Washington D.C. (SEDC 2016) Conference will be held March 31–April 2, 2016, at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia, and George Mason University (April 2 only), in Fairfax, Virginia. The conference theme will be “Critical Infrastructure Protection and Recovery.” This conference will focus on Critical Infrastructure Protection and Recovery (CIPR) and how systems engineering supports the analysis, planning, and development of resilient systems. The conference will provide an opportunity for authors to communicate their knowledge and best practices as systems engineering practitioners involved in CIPR-related government, commercial, and academic areas. Papers, tutorials, and panel sessions will be peer-reviewed, scored, and judged on a range of parameters, including usable information or insight into the systems engineering community, clarity of expression, effective communication of ideas, technical depth, and substantiation of concepts. SEDC is ideal for systems engineers, project managers, and professionals interested in learning more about systems engineering. Register online at http://www.sedcconference.org.


Losing Something In Translation Turning Requirements Into Specifications

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Charles M. Court, Ph.D.

Perhaps the reader remembers the comedy routine in which a performer orates a lyrical, emotive passage in a deep, inspiring voice—except the quotation is in some unintelligible language. Another performer asks, “What does that mean in English?” The translation is something like, “The snake fell out of the tree, onto the baby and ate him.” As audience members gasp in revulsion, they hear the punchline, “It loses something in translation.”

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Tapping Transaction Costs to Forecast Acquisition Cost Breaches

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Authors: Laura E. Armey and Diana I. Angelis

This article uses transaction costs to predict the probability of incurring a cost breach in a major defense acquisition program (MDAP). As transaction costs are not explicitly measured for MDAPs, the authors use estimates of systems engineering and program management (SE/PM) costs as a share of overall program costs as a proxy for transaction costs. Using survival analysis, a new approach to predicting cost breaches, they also found that an increased share of SE/PM costs in initial program estimates can help predict future cost breaches.

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Building Resilient Systems Via Strong Human Systems Integration

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Author: Mica R. Endsley, Ph.D.

Imagine a land called Nonods in which the people built a great many bridges. These bridges had a tendency to collapse frequently, however, killing or injuring a number of Nonods in the process. The bridges were also fairly rickety requiring lengthy training as well as many procedures to avoid falling off of them, significantly slowing traffic across the land. Now within Nonods there were many civil engineers who had amassed significant knowledge about how to build strong bridges that would not fall and that would support much more rapid traffic.

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A Proposed 2025 Ground Systems “Systems Engineering” Process

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Authors: Robert E. Smith and LTC Brian D. Vogt, USA

The U.S. Army’s mission reflects a strong impetus to provide flexible and adaptable ground vehicles that are rapidly fieldable. Emerging manufacturing technology, such as three-dimensional (3D) printing, is making mass customization possible in commercial industry. If the Army could produce tailored military ground vehicles that incorporate mission-specific tactics, it would outperform generic systems. To produce such systems, a new systems engineering (SE) process should be developed. Virtual environments are central to the proposed SE/2025 process because they provide a sandbox where soldiers and engineers might directly collaborate to codevelop tactics and technologies simultaneously. The authors’ intent is to describe how ground vehicle systems might be developed in 2025 as well as to describe current efforts underway to shape the future.

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Inserting Agility in System Development

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Author: Matthew R. Kennedy and Lt Col Dan Ward, USAF

With the fast-paced nature of technology, rapidly fielding systems has never been more important. Success depends on well-defined requirements and the ability to rapidly respond to change during and after deployment. The inability to rapidly respond may cause the system to become obsolete before initial fielding. Creating a structure where processes allow for changes during system development requires restructuring system development values and principles at all levels. This article addresses progress toward agility and defines agile values and principles being used by agile organizations in the Business, System, and Software Aspects. It also defines operationally effective agile practices being utilized to implement those values and principles that provide a starting point for inserting agility into the system development process.

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