THE BASIC OF FRAMEWORK ARE THE COHERENCE AND ORDER
Introduction: the general framework The general framework of systems engineering adopted in the course consists of: a hierarchy of elements; aims associated within its outputs and process; a set of principles; a division into technical and managerial components of the process.
How are the duties of system engineers?
The general framework of systems engineering adopted in the course consists of:
A hierarchy of elements;
Aims associated within its outputs and process;
A set of principles;
A division into technical and managerial components of the process.
The lexicon of system engineering used in the course contains the hierarchy of elements:
Strategy: meaning the accumulated decisions concerning the areas in which an organization operates and its longer-term aims,
Programme: this may be either a single, very large contract or a number of projects that are linked by a business, technological or other logic.
Project: a set of activities required to produce a specified set of outputs,
Work package: a subset of the activities within a project that have a disciplinary (functional), technological or other logic,
Task: a specific activity.
These terms and the levels of activity to which they relate form the hierarchy shown in Figure 47. The relationship of this to the systems structure discussed in module 4, and to enabling and operating environment systems, is also indicated.
The strategy level of activity is associated with the ‘Enterprise Environment Management Process’ identified in the ISO/IEC 15288 standard.
Figure 47- Structure, decomposition and relationships in systems engineering
Various definitions of systems engineering and its characteristics were discussed in module 2.
The definition adopted by the course team is:
Systems engineering is a set of principles, methods and techniques applied to all the tasks involved in all the life cycle stages of a complex system.
The aims of systems engineering can be divided into those to do with its outputs and those associated with the process itself.
As far as its outputs are concerned, systems engineering aims to ensure that:
The requirements of all the stakeholders are taken into account in engineering the system,
The system, as engineered and realized, meets the requirements of stakeholders,
The system, while meeting the requirements of stakeholders, should be designed and implemented in such a way as to minimize its negative impact on society and the physical environment.
Systems engineering as a process aims to:
Achieve the realization of the system within time and cost targets,
Ensure that the realization of the system is profitable for a business enterprise or effective in a not-for-profit organization,
Ensure that any risks associated with the realization of the system are minimized,
Provide a framework in which the combination of all those associated with the realization of the system is maximized and their professional development furthered,
Provide a process whereby the individual and team learning that takes place during the realization of the system becomes part of the intellectual capital of the organization.
There are seven principles of systems engineering.
Systemicity: a systems viewpoint is adopted, including, in particular, taking a holistic, balanced approach.
Betterment (from definitions of engineering): whatever is done should contribute to the amelioration of the human condition and improve or minimize damage to the sentient and non-sentient environment.
Relevance: systems engineering effort is directed towards achieving the wider strategic aims of the organization.
Inclusivty: the requirements of all stakeholders in the system are taken into account in its realization. This follows from the concept of holism.
Comprehensiveness: all the stages of the system's life cycle are addressed.
Multidisciplinary: since systems engineering is concerned with the realization of complex systems, a balanced contribution from different, appropriate specialist disciplines is required.
Personal and team growth and development: systems engineering contributes to the growth of knowledge within the team and organization.
The aims and principles of systems engineering provide the basis for decision and action. The final element in the general framework used in the course is a division between the technical and managerial components (Sage, 1981; Sage, 1994; Shenhar, 1999). Shenhar represents these two elements with the diagram shown in Figure 48.
Figure 48- Shenhar's model of technical and managerial components of systems engineering. Source: Shenhar, 1999, p. 115
Look at Shenhar's diagram (Figure 48). What are the main criticisms that might be levelled at it?
You should now read the document ‘Answer- Shenhar's diagram’ in the section titled ‘Extra reading materials’.
The technical and the managerial have to be seen within the context of the whole that is systems engineering. Its two components rely symbiotically on each other and both are systems engineering specific.
The inextricably linked relationship of the technical and managerial are shown at the centre of Figure 49, which also indicates that the two components are special subsets of the wider general subjects of engineering and management.
Figure 49- The yin and yang of systems engineering
The INCOSE model of the technical component of systems engineering is shown in Figure 50.
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