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Systems Engineering Overview September 10, 1999. Presented to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers Karl Arunski, P.E. James Martin Phil Brown, P.E. Dennis Buede. Agenda. Introduction What is Systems Engineering? History of Systems Engineering and INCOSE

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Systems engineering overview september 10 1999

Systems Engineering OverviewSeptember 10, 1999

Presented to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers

Karl Arunski, P.E.

James Martin

Phil Brown, P.E.

Dennis Buede


  • Introduction

  • What is Systems Engineering?

  • History of Systems Engineering and INCOSE

  • Is Systems Engineering a Separate Engineering Discipline?

  • Future Steps

Briefing to the texas board of professional engineers

Briefing to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers

What is

Systems Engineering?

September 10, 1999

What is a system
What is a System?

  • Definition of a System (NASA Systems Engineering Handbook)

    • A system is a set of interrelated components which interact with one another in an organized fashiontoward a common purpose.

  • System components may be quite diverse

    • Persons and Organizations

    • Software and Data

    • Equipment and Hardware

    • Facilities and Materials

    • Services and Techniques

Systems engineering component engineering
Systems Engineering & Component Engineering

  • Science

    Determines what Is

  • Component Engineering

    Determines what Can Be

  • Systems Engineering

    Determines what Should Be

Systems engineering
Systems Engineering

  • Definition of Systems Engineering (NASA SE Handbook)

    • Systems Engineering is a robust approach to the design, creation, and operation of systems.

  • Systems Engineering consists of

    • Identification and quantification of system goals

    • Creation of alternative system design concepts

    • Performance of design trades

    • Selection and implementation of the best design(balanced and robust)

    • Verification that the design is actually built and properly integrated in accordance with specifications

    • Assessment of how well the system meets the goals

Systems engineering overview september 10 1999

What needs are we trying to fill?

What is wrong with the current situation?

Is the need clearly articulated?

Who are the intended users?

How will they use our products?

How is this different from the present?

What specific capability will we provide?

To what level of detail?

Are element interfaces well defined?

What is the overall plan of attack?

What elements make up the overall approach?

Are these complete, logical, and consistent?

Which elements address which requirements?

Is the allocation appropriate?

Are there any unnecessary requirements?

Are the details correct?

Do they meet the requirements?

Are the interfaces satisfied?

Will the solution be satisfactory in terms of cost and schedule?

Can we reuse existing pieces?

What is our evidence of success?

Will the customer be happy?

Will the users’ needs be met?

Focus of Systems Engineering

From Original Need

To Final Product

The Whole System

The Full System Life Cycle


Operations Concept

Functional Requirements

System Architecture

Allocated Requirements

Detailed Design


Test & Verification

  • Focus of Component Engineering

    • On Detailed Design

    • And Implementation

The vee model of system development
The “Vee” Model of System Development

User Requirements & Concept of Operations

System Demonstration & Validation

Systems Engineering Domain

System Requirements & Architecture

System Integration & Test

Component Design

Component Integration & Test

Component Engineering Domain

Procure, Fabricate, & Assemble Parts

Systems engineering contributions
Systems Engineering Contributions

  • Systems engineering brings two elements to a project that are not usually present

    • A disciplined focus on the

      • end product,

      • its enabling products, and

      • its internal and external operational environment(i.e., a System View)

    • A consistent vision of stakeholders’ expectations independent of daily project demands (i.e., the System’s Purpose)

Role of systems engineering in product development

Systems Engineering

Mech Engrg



Elec Engrg




Chem Engrg



SW Engrg


Systems Engineering

Systems Engineering


Civil Engrg


Role of Systems Engineering in Product Development

  • Integrates Technical Effort Across the Development Project

    • Functional Disciplines

    • Technology Domains

    • Specialty Concerns

Building blocks of systems engineering

Math & Physical Sciences

Qualitative modeling

Quantitative modeling

Physical modeling

Theory of Constraints

Physical Laws

Management Sciences


Organizational Design

Business Decision Analysis

Operations Research

Social Sciences

Multi-disciplinary Teamwork

Organizational Behavior


Body of Knowledge

Problem definition

Concept of operations

System boundaries

Objectives hierarchy

Originating requirements

Concurrent engineering

System life cycle phases








Risk management

Key performance parameters

Building Blocks of Systems Engineering

Unique to Systems Engineering

Ethical considerations

Achieving balance between inherent conflicts

System Functionality and Performance

Development Cost and Recurring Cost

Development Schedule (Time to Market)

Development Risk (Probability of Success)

Business Viability and Success

System Optimization

Subsystems often suboptimal to achieve best balance at system level

Ultimate system purpose must prevail against conflicting considerations

Long-term considerations (e.g., disposal) may drive technical decisions

Customer Interface

Often must act as “honest broker”

Carries burden of educating customer on hard choices

Must think ahead to the next customer and next application

Must “challenge” all requirements

Ethical Considerations


  • Systems Engineering

    • Has Unique Focus

      • End product and system purpose

      • Stakeholder needs and expectations

      • Full system life cycle (Conception through Retirement)

    • Has Unique Approach

      • Integrates disciplines and technologies

      • Balances conflicting considerations

    • Has Unique Methods, Tools & Models for

      • System analysis and simulation

      • Assessment of performance and risk

      • Organization and management of information and requirements

      • Verification and validation

Briefing to the texas board of professional engineers1
Briefing to the Texas Board of Professional Engineers


of Systems Engineering

and the

The International Council On Systems Engineering (INCOSE)

September 10, 1999

Systems engineering heritage
Systems Engineering Heritage

  • Water Distribution Systems in Mesopotamia 4000 BC

  • Irrigation Systems in Egypt 3300 BC

  • Urban Systems such as Athens, Greece 400 BC

  • Roman Highway Systems 300 BC

  • Water Transportation Systems like Erie Canal 1800s

  • Telephone Systems 1877

  • Electrical Power Distribution Systems 1880

Modern origins of the systems approach
Modern Origins of the Systems Approach

  • British Multi-disciplined Team Formed (1937) to Analyze Air Defense System

  • Bell Labs Supported Nike Development (1939-1945)

  • SAGE Air Defense System Defined and Managed by MIT (1951-1980)

  • ATLAS Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Program Managed by Systems Contractor, Ramo-Wooldridge Corp (1954-1964)

Spread of the systems approach 1
Spread of the Systems Approach1

  • Early Proponents

    • Research and Development Corporation (RAND)

    • Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defense)

    • Jay Forrester (Modeling Urban Systems at MIT)

  • Growth in Systems Engineering Citations (Engineering Index)

    • Nil in 1964

    • One Page in 1966

    • Eight Pages in 1969

  • Nine Universities Offered Systems Engineering Programs in 1964

1) Hughes, Thomas P., Rescuing Prometheus, Chapter 4, pps. 141-195, Pantheon Books, New York, 1998.

Teaching se included in 1971 dod acquisition reforms
Teaching SE Included in 1971 DoD Acquisition Reforms

  • Study Group Chaired by David Packard, co-founder of Hewlett Packard

    • Recommended formal training for Department of Defense (DoD) program managers

  • Defense Systems Management College (DMSC) Established in 1971

  • DSMC Charged with Teaching Program Managers how to Direct Complex Projects

  • Systems Engineering a Core Curriculum Course

Government publications codified systems engineering discipline
Government Publications Codified Systems Engineering Discipline

  • USAF Systems Engineering Handbook 375-5 [1966]

  • MIL-STD-499 (USAF), Systems Engineering Management [1969]

  • U.S. Army Field Manual 770-78, Systems Engineering [1979]

  • Defense Systems Management College, Systems Engineering Management Guides [1983, 1990]

  • NASA Systems Engineering Handbook [1995]

Discipline maturation
Discipline Maturation Discipline

  • “Explosive Growth in Computing Power is Profoundly Changing the Systems, Themselves, and, Consequently, Systems Engineering as Practiced Over the Last Half Century.” --- Eberhardt Rechtin, July 1993

  • Steady Growth in Commercial Computer Tools that Automate and Improve Execution of Systems Engineering Process

  • Increasing World Wide Reports of Systems Engineering Applications

Expanding horizons
Expanding Horizons Discipline

  • Collaboration with Other Technical Societies

  • Development of Systems Engineering Standards (National & International)

  • Encouraging International Membership (Now 27% Outside United States)

  • Nurturing Emerging SE Applications

    • Commercial

    • Environmental

  • Fostering SE Education and Research

Se standards the product of incose collaborative efforts
SE Standards the Product of INCOSE Collaborative Efforts Discipline

  • Current SE Standards

    • Electronics Industry Association (EIA - 632)

      • Processes for Engineering a System (12/98)

    • EIA/Interim Standard - 731

      • Systems Engineering Capability Model (12/98)

    • IEEE 1220

      • Application and Management of the SE Process, (1998)

    • European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS-E-10A)

      • System Engineering, (5/96)

  • SE Standards Under Development

    • ISO 15288, ISO SPICE, Systems Engineering for Space Systems, SE Data Exchange, Capability Maturity Model Integration, System Architecture (IEEE P1471)

Products Discipline

  • Symposium Proceedings in Book & CD

  • Systems Engineering Journal

  • Quarterly Newsletter - INSIGHT

  • Organization Website -

  • Technical Committee Papers

  • Member Books & Textbooks

  • Regional Conferences

Conclusion Discipline

  • Elements of Systems Engineering are Embedded in All Engineering Endeavors

  • Successes, and Failures, in Producing Complex Systems Continues to Create Advocates for the Value of Systems Engineering

Why systems engineering is a separate engineering discipline

Briefing to the DisciplineTexas Board of Professional Engineers

Why Systems Engineering Isa Separate Engineering Discipline!

September 10, 1999

Two perspectives on se

SE is a way of thinking Discipline

Practiced by senior engineers with OJT

Is unique to the product/industry of the engineering firm

Should be taught within other engineering disciplines

Scientific foundations and body of knowledge have commonality across product/industry but are not unique to SE

SE team has engineers of all disciplines

SE is a discipline of engineering

Has scientific foundations that cross many other engineering disciplines

Has body of knowledge separate from other disciplines

Can be taught separately from other disciplines in an engineering school

Separate roles exist on the SE team for a specific product

Two Perspectives on SE


Se as an engineering discipline

Scientific Foundations Discipline

Qualitative modeling

Data modeling

Process modeling

Quantitative modeling

Behavioral modeling

Feedback and control

“ility” modeling

Trade-off modeling

Physical modeling

Prototypes for requirements

Usability testing

Prototypes for interface resolution


Body of Knowledge

Problem definition

Concept of operations

System boundaries

Objectives hierarchy

Originating requirements

Concurrent engineering

System life cycle phases








Risk management

Key performance parameters

SE as an Engineering Discipline

Books on systems engineering
Books on Systems Engineering Discipline

Karayanakis, N.M. (1995). Advanced System Modeling and Simulation with Block Diagram Languages.

Katzan, H. (1976). Systems Design and Documentation.

Klir, G. (1985). Architecture of Systems Problem Solving.

Kusiak, A. (ed.) (1992). Intelligent Design and Manufacturing.

Lacy, J.A. (1992). Systems Engineering Management: Achieving Total Quality.

Larson, W.J. and Wertz, J.R. (eds.) (1992). Space Mission Analysis and Design.

Lee, A.M. (1970). Systems Analysis Frameworks.

Levi, S. and Agrawala, A.K. (1994). Fault Tolerant System Design.

Lin, Y. (1999). General Systems Theory: A Mathematical Approach.

Machol, R.E. (1965). Systems Engineering Handbook.

Martin, J.N. and Bahill, A.T. (eds.) (1996). Systems Engineering Guidebook: A Process for Developing Systems and Products.

McClamroch, N.H. (1980). State Models of Dynamical Systems.

McMenamin, S.M. and Palmer, J.F. (1984). Essential Systems Analysis.

Mesarovic, M.D. and Takahara, Y. General Systems Theory: Mathematical Foundations.

Michaels, J.V. and Wood, W.P. (1989). Design to Cost.

Miles, R.F. (ed.) (1971). Systems Concepts.

Miller, J.G. (1978). Living Systems.

Moody, J.A. et al. (eds) (1997). Metrics and Case Studies for Evaluating Engineering Designs.

Nadler, G. (1967). Work Systems Design: The IDEALS Concept.

Norman, D.A. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things.

Oliver, D.W., Kelliher, T.P., and Keegan, J.G., Jr. (1997). Engineering Complex Systems with Models and Objects.

Optner, S.L. (ed.) (1973). Systems Analysis.

Ostwald, P.F. and Munoz, J. (1997). Manufacturing Processes and Systems.

Padulo, L. and Arbib, M. (1974). System Theory: A Unified State-Space Approach to Continuous and Discrete Systems.

Pages, A. and Gondran, M. (1986). System Reliability: Evaluation and Prediction in Engineering.

Perry, W.E. (1988). A Structured Approach to Systems Testing.

Prasad, B. (1996). Concurrent Engineering Fundamentals: Integrated Product and Process Organization.

Purdy, D.C. (1991). A Guide for Writing Successful Engineering Specifications.

Rasmussan, J. et al. (1994). Cognitive Systems Engineering.

Rea, K.P. and Lientz, B.P. (1998). Breakthrough Technology Project Management.

Rechtin, E. and Maier, M.W. (1996). The Art of Systems Architecting.

Rechtin, E. (1991). Systems Architecting: Creating and Building Complex Systems.

Revelle, C.S., et al. (1997). Civil and Environmental Systems Engineering.

Rouse, W.B. and Boff, K.R. (1987). System Design: Behavioral Perspectives on Designers, Tools, and Organizations.

Ryschkewitsch, M.G. (1992). The NASA Mission Design Process: An Engineering Guide to the Conceptual Design, Mission Analysis, and Definition Phases.

Sage, A.P. (ed.) (1999). Handbook of Systems Engineering.

Sage, A.P. (1995). Systems Management for Information Technology and Software Engineering.

Sage, A.P. (1992). Systems Engineering.

Sage, A.P. (1991). Decision Support Systems Engineering.

Sage, A.P. (1977). Methodology for Large-scale Systems.

Schuman, S. et al. (1994). Systems, Models, and Measures: Formal Approaches to Computing and Information Technology.

Shearer, J.L. et al. (1997). Dynamic Modeling and Control of Engineering Systems.

Shinners, S.M. (1976). A Guide to Systems Engineering and Management.

Shuey, R.L., Spooner, D.L., and Frieder, O. (1997). The Architecture of Distributed Computer Systems.

Stevens, R., et al. (1998). Systems Engineering: Coping with Complexity.

Suh, N.P. (1990). The Principles of Design.

Turbide, D.A. (1996). Why Systems Fail: And How to Make Sure Yours Doesn’t.

Van Gigch, J.P. (1978). Applied General Systems Theory.

Vickers, G. (1983). Human Systems Are Different.

Wallace, I. (1995). Developing Effective Safety Systems.

Wallace, R., Stockenberg, J. and Charrette, R. (1987). A Unified Methodology for Developing Systems.

Wright, R.T. (1990). Manufacturing Systems.

Wymore, A.W. (1993). Model-based Systems Engineering.

Wymore, A.W. (1977). A Mathematical Theory of Systems Engineering: The Elements.

Wymore, A.W. (1976). Systems Engineering Methodology for Interdisciplinary Teams.

Andriole, S.J. (1996). Managing Systems Requirements : Methods, Tools, and Case.

Aslaksen, E. and Belcher, R. (1992). Systems Engineering.

Athey, T.H. (1982). Systematic Systems Approach: An Integrated Method for Solving Systems Problems.

Baumgartner, J.S. (1979). Systems Management.

Baylin, E.N. (1990). Functional Modeling of Systems.

Beam, W.R. (1990). Systems Engineering: Architecture and Design.

Beam, W.R. (1989). Command, Control, and Communications Systems Engineering.

Blair, R.N. and Whitston, C.W. (1971). Elements of Industrial Systems Engineering.

Blanchard, B.S. (1991). System Engineering Management.

Blanchard, B.S., and Fabrycky, W.J. (1998). Systems Engineering and Analysis.

Boardman, J. (1990). Systems Engineering: An Introduction.

Buede, D.M. (2000). The Engineering Design of Systems: Models and Methods.

Chapanis, A. (1996). Human Factors in Systems Engineering.

Chapman, W.L., Bahill, A.T., and Wymore, A.W. (1992). Engineering Modeling and Design.

Chase, W.P. (1974). Management of System Engineering.

Checkland, P.B. (1981). Systems Thinking, Systems Practice.

Chestnut, H. (1967). Systems Engineering Methods.

Chorafas, D.N. (1989). Systems Architecture and Systems Design.

Churchman, C.W. (1971). The Design of Inquiring Systems.

Churchman, C.W. (1968). The Systems Approach.

Cochin, I. And Plass, H.J. (1997). Analysis and Design of Dynamic Systems.

Cooper, D. and Chapman, C. (1987). Risk Analysis for Large Projects: Models, Methods and Cases.

Coulouris, G., Dollimore, J., and Kindberg, T. (1994). Distributed Systems Concepts and Design.

Daenzer, W.F. (ed.) (1976). Systems Engineering.

Defense Systems Management College. (1989). Risk Management: Concepts and Guidance.

de Neufville, R. and Stafford. J.H. (1971). Systems Analysis for Engineers and Managers.

Dept. Of Army, (1969). A Guide to Systems Engineering.

Dhillon, B.S. (1989). Life Cycle Costing.

Dhillon, B.S. (1982). Reliability Engineering in Systems Design and Operation.

Dickinson, B.W. (1991). Systems: Analysis, Design, and Computation.

Dix, A.J. (1991). Formal Methods for Interactive Systems.

Dorny, C.N. (1993). Understanding Dynamic Systems: Approaches to Modeling, Analysis and Design.

Eisner, H. (1988). Computer-Aided Systems Engineering.

Fabrycky, W. et al. (1997). Economic Decision Analysis.

Faurre, P. and Depeyrot, M. (1977). Elements of System Theory.

Flagle, C.D., Huggins, W.H. and Roy, R.H. (1960). Operations Research and Systems Engineering,

Flood, R.L. and Carson, E.R. (1988). Dealing with Complexity, an Introduction to the Theory and Application of Systems Science.

Frankel, E.G. (1988). Systems Reliability and Risk Analysis.

Gasparski, W. (1984). Understanding Design: The Praxiological-Systemic Perspective.

Gheorghe, A. (1982). Applied Systems Engineering.

Glegg, G.L. (1981). The Development of Design.

Goode, H.H. and Machol, R.E. (1957). System Engineering – An Introduction to the Design of Large-Scale Systems.

Gosling, W. (1962). The Design of Engineering Systems.

Grady, J.O. (1995). System Engineering Planning and Enterprise Identity.

Grady, J.O. (1993). System Requirements Analysis.

Grady, J.O. (1997). System Validation and Verification.

Hajek, V.J. (1984). Management of Engineering Projects.

Hall, A. (1962). A Methodology for Systems Engineering.

Hatley, D.J. and Pirbhai, I.A. (1988). Strategies for Real-Time System Specification.

Hazelrigg, G.A. (1996). Systems Engineering: An Approach to Information-Based Design.

Hubka, V. and Eder, W.E. (1988). Theory of Technical Systems: A Total Concept Theory for Engineering Design.

Hunger, J.W. (1995). Engineering the System Solution.

Jalote, P. (1994). Fault Tolerance in Distributed Systems.

Jenkins, G.M. and Youle, P.V. (1971). Systems Engineering: a Unifying Approach in Industry and Society

Jerger, J.L. (1960). Systems Preliminary Design, Principles of Guided Missile Design.

Summary Discipline

  • Systems Engineering – an Engineering Discipline

    • Skills and Problems Not Unique

    • But Unique Mixture of Skills and Problems

  • Growing SE Academic Community

    • Houston, SMU, Texas Tech

    • MIT, Rochester Inst. Of Tech., Stevens Inst. Of Tech.

  • Growing Body of Knowledge

    • Books

    • SE Journal and Conferences

    • Standards

  • Students Pursue Degrees in SE

  • Engineers Pursue Job Titles in SE

  • Engineering Firms Pursue Engineers that Think at the System Level

Recommendations Discipline

  • Recognize Systems Engineering as a distinct engineering discipline

  • Follow a process similar to Software Engineering to define the discipline of Systems Engineering

    • Body of Knowledge

    • Code of Ethics

    • Professional Practice

    • Education Criteria/Collaboration with NCEES

    • Examination Standards

  • Move out quickly to partner with INCOSE to lead, facilitate & coordinate further actions