July 24, 2024

According to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK), systems engineering is an interdisciplinary methodology that enables the characterization and effective management of successful systems. 

To meet the requirements of customers, users, and various stakeholders, a successful system is the one that fulfils their needs. Systems engineering takes a holistic and simultaneous approach to comprehending stakeholder needs, identifying potential opportunities, documenting requirements, and synthesizing, verifying, validating, and evolving solutions. This comprehensive problem-solving process encompasses the entire life cycle of a system, from conceptual exploration to eventual disposal.

How does systems engineering work?

Principle 1: Taking an economic view

In systems engineering, the principle of taking an economic view, entails making decisions based on a careful evaluation of explicitly stated or implicitly considered values. By incorporating values into the decision-making process, an economic framework is established within systems development. Prioritization and sequencing of work should consider the value factor.

To optimize the development and sustainment processes, it is essential to comprehend and intentionally capture the value associated with requirements and design components as perceived by various stakeholders. This facilitates thorough impact analyses and enables effective prioritization during development and maintenance. 

Implementing a shared value-determination process that involves all stakeholders provides transparency in decision-making, supports decisions at different implementation levels, and accounts for temporal, internal, and external factors that influence value aspects.

Principle 2: Embrace Systems Thinking

It involves a comprehensive approach to product development that extends beyond individual components. It involves considering the entire value stream across acquisition, development, and operational organizations, going beyond mere requirements and product functionality.  

Orthogone systems engineering services enter the intricate socio-technical system that envelops the product and its surrounding context.

Systems engineering inherently encompasses systems thinking, as it entails grasping the entirety of the endeavor. This includes recognizing the significance of various tech activities and requirements, and comprehending the interconnected value streams and networks. By taking a holistic view, systems thinking becomes an essential aspect of the overall approach.

Principle 3: Embrace Variability and Flexibility 

Imposing a rigid, highly detailed system description that spans years of development can become a hindrance when naturally evolving factors such as threats, political landscapes, economics, technology, or markets render assumptions or specifications obsolete. Recognizing the inevitability of variability and uncertainty, acquirers and developers must prioritize investing in and preserving options until the last responsible moment to effectively navigate change.

By applying systems thinking and embracing variability while preserving options, organizations can navigate complex development processes and effectively manage change in an ever-evolving tech environment.