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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More on Objectives of This Blog

Systems engineering is an ever evolving engineering discipline. In the late 1990s new methods emerged that enable shorter product development cycles and at the same time improve the quality of systems engineering documentation that is critical to the development of high quality products. Systems engineers and managers of product development have an excellent selection of handbooks and books available from US Government agencies and professional organizations that treat systems engineering fundamentals. Unfortunately the documents I am familiar with have not incorporated the newest methodologies. The intent of this work is to provide a self-training guidebook in these new methodologies so that product development organizations can realize significant reductions in the systems engineering portions of product development and achieve higher quality systems engineering products. The specific objectives of this material are to:
·         Teach modern systems engineering methods that support product development on short schedules and at low development costs
·         Teach methods and tools in formats compatible with standard systems engineering references to enable students to continue to study on their own after finishing this material
·         Provide initial steps toward systems engineering templates for rapid product development
The approach that will be followed is to:
·         First review the fundamentals necessary to understand modern methods
·         Summarize how  engineering methods has evolved and led to modern systems engineering
·         Provide exercises for the students that become initial steps toward templates specific to their work
·         Describe methods and tools in formats compatible with standard references
The material presented here has evolved over a number of years and from a number of sources. The most important sources include:
·         “Best Practices” of engineers on successful projects in the author’s experience
·         The Department of Defense Systems Management College publication “Systems Engineering Fundamentals”
·         IEEE Std 1220 Application and Management of the Systems Engineering Process
·         INCOSE (International Council on Systems Engineering) Systems Engineering Handbook,
·         GPR 7120.5A  Systems Engineering (GPR is NASA Goddard Procedural Requirements)
·         An INCOSE Presentation by James Long of the ViTech Corporation
·         The Systematica Methodology of Bill Schindel
·         Studies of “Integrated Concurrent Engineering” available on the internet.
The intention of the author is that this material complements “Systems Engineering Fundamentals” and  IEEE 1220 so that students can continue to study using these two sources after completing this material. However, “Systems Engineering Fundamentals” and IEEE 1220 are not a substitute for studying this material because concepts critical to short cycle time and low cost systems engineering are presented here that are not in the two references.  Thus this material plus “Systems Engineering Fundamentals” and IEEE 1220, or this material plus the INCOSE “Systems Engineering Handbook” can be considered a handbook for top level systems engineering.
This material will not:
·         Teach the domain knowledge specific to any particular system
·         Substitute for the years of experience and engineering education that serve as the foundation needed by systems engineers
·         Teach the detailed systems engineering processes covered very well by the complementary books referenced above
A cautionary note on systems engineering nomenclature is necessary for readers. Systems engineering nomenclature is not standardized although there are efforts underway. Therefore I cannot claim to exclusively use standard nomenclature. I will try to use nomenclature consistent with the INCOSE “Systems Engineering Handbook” and DoD’s “Systems Engineering Fundamentals”. I have never found the inconsistency in nomenclature to be a problem but I am sure that some readers will; so I apologize to those readers for the times that I use unfamiliar nomenclature or deviate from my intent to be consistent with the documents cited here.
The material that will be presented is not for systems engineers alone. It should be read by managers responsible for systems engineering including functional engineering managers and product development managers. It does little good to have systems engineers trained in the most modern and efficient methods if their managers do not understand the value of modern methods and do not support the implementation and use of these methods. It is also valuable for other engineers involved in product development to learn these methods because many apply to design engineering as well as systems engineering.
The material is presented in three Parts:
         Part I – Fundamentals of Systems Engineering
         Part II- Introduction to Model and Pattern Based Systems Engineering
         Part III- Alternate Description of Fundamental Systems Engineering Tasks (This is the part that recasts methods and tools in formats compatible with standard references.

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