Systems Engineering Overview

a 3-day short course

Presented by Mr. Robert Halligan FIE Aust, Mr Alwyn Smit Pr Eng CSEP or Mr. Clive Tudge CEng MIET


This short course provides an overview of the principles and methods known as systems engineering: an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to the engineering of solutions, adopted by leading enterprises worldwide, which aims to capture stakeholder needs, objectives and values, and to transform this problem definition into a holistic, life-cycle balanced system solution which both satisfies the imperatives, and optimizes overall project and solution effectiveness according to the values of the stakeholders.

The course is oriented in delivery towards the applications of the participants, with examples drawn from the participants' sectors, where possible. Ample opportunity is provided for discussion with, and between, participants on issues relevant to the subject, from the introduction of principles, and a principles workshop, on day 1, through the implementation detail of days 2 and 3.

This course is intended for those who seek a knowledge of systems engineering, without themselves practicing systems engineering. As such, the course will appeal to people who participate in technical projects in non-engineering roles, or in engineering support roles.

Our 5-day Systems Engineering for Technology-Based Projects and Product Developments course is recommended for anybody who will perform or manage significant engineering roles, whether or not under the label “systems engineering”. This longer course  aims to instill significant understanding, together with methods at a level of familiarity from which skill can be developed through application of the methods in the workplace.

Key Learning Objectives

This 3-day course overviews systems engineering as it is understood and practiced by leading acquirer, developer, and supplier organizations worldwide. Our Systems Engineering Overview training overviews an integrated approach to the set of management and technical disciplines that combine to optimize system effectiveness, enhance project success and reduce risk. Pursuit of enterprise objectives, e.g. time to market, cost of goods sold, product quality, military objectives, is a constant theme throughout the course. It is expected that, on completion of the course, participants will:

  • know about the overall concepts which are characteristic of a systems approach to engineering
  • know about the overall process elements, and their relationships, which collectively constitute the building blocks of systems engineering
  • understand and be able to relate the roles of developer as supplier, developer as creator and developer as acquirer, and to place their own roles, and those of their customers (internal and external) and suppliers (internal and external) within this framework
  • be able to perform some of the basics of some of the more important techniques of system requirements analysis, development of physical solution, development of logical solution, evaluation of solution alternatives (trade-off studies) and design iteration
  • be familiar with some of the principles and major techniques of engineering management in a systems project context

Training Method and Material

The course is delivered using a mixture of formal presentation, informal discussion, and workshops that exercise key aspects of systems engineering on a single system through a development lifecycle. The Systems Engineering training makes use of workshops to put into practice the techniques covered in theory sessions.

You will be provided with: comprehensive Systems Engineering Overview course notes containing presentation material a Workbook containing workshop exercises, with worked examples also distributed in most cases numerous supplementary descriptions, checklists, forms and charts which you can put to use immediately a two-CD Systems Engineering resource containing about 1.1GB of valuable information (handbooks, templates, guides, papers, reports, standards, etc.) ;and complimentary access to PPI's evolving Systems Engineering Goldmine, from which the CDROM is drawn.

Who Should Attend this Course

This Systems Engineering Overview course is intended for people who interface with systems engineering activities, but do not need to perform these activities themselves in any substantial way. The course will be of particular value to people with job titles such as:

  • Product manager
  • Project director
  • R and D manager
  • Engineering manager
  • Test and Evaluation Manager
  • Test Engineer
  • Specialty Engineer
  • Project engineer
  • Logistic Support Analysis (LSA) specialist
  • Industrial engineer
  • Production Manager
  • Configuration Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Other project-related job titles.
  • and their staff.

Course Outline

0. Why Systems Engineering?

1. The System Life Cycle and Solution Development

  • defining the problem domain
    • information, relationships and artefacts of problem definition
  • the solution domain: key concepts, relationships, and work products
  • problem versus solution
  • architectural/conceptual/preliminary versus detail
  • “our” problem versus “their” problem
  • architectural/conceptual/preliminary versus detail
  • scalability and recursion
  • complexity
  • top down, bottom up, “in-between”
  • technical reviews – requirements, design
  • classes of stakeholders
  • configuration items and baselines
  • why a life cycle view – need to disposal?
  • waterfall, incremental, evolutionary and spiral developments
  • summary of key points

2. Principles, Concepts and Elements

  • workshop - SE principles
  • some more systems concepts
  • SE process model and elements
  • verification and validation related to the “V” model, the “Wedge Model™”
  • work product attributes
    • requirements traceability
    • design traceability
    • verification traceability
  • SE and SE-related standards
  • relationship of SE to other engineering disciplines
  • relationship of SE to ISO9001, Six Sigma, Value Engineering
  • relationship of SE to project management, quality management, operations
  • summary of key points

3. Requirements Analysis – Capture and Validation

  • types of requirements
  • RA methodology
  • workshop - context analysis
  • workshop - design requirements analysis
  • workshop - parsing analysis
  • software tools supporting requirements management and requirements analysis
  • summary of key points

4. Physical Solution Definition - Part A

  • technology and innovation in solution development
  • generic influences in defining configuration items

5. Logical Solution Definition

  • types of logical representation
  • functional analysis in design – how to do it
  • functional design/architecture process
  • workshop - a simple physical/functional design
  • performance threads
  • behaviour modeling, UML, SysML, DODAF
  • software tools supporting logical and physical design

6. Physical Solution Definition - Part B

  • what next? – FMECA, FTA, ETA, ORA, …..
  • object-oriented design
  • interface engineering, common interfacing pitfalls
  • summary of key points

7. Effectiveness Evaluation, Decision & Solution Optimization

  • approaches: AHP, MAUT, QFD
  • workshop - developing a system effectiveness model
  • workshop - performing a trade-off study
  • multiple stakeholders, multiple uses, event-based uncertainty
  • solution optimization
  • handling conflict of interest between acquirer and supplier
  • software tools supporting effectiveness evaluation and decision

8. Requirements Specification Writing

  • the ten requirement specification types and their uses
  • public domain specification standards – the good, the bad, and the ugly
  • specification structure principles

9. System Integration

  • integration planning
  • integration
  • integration testing
  • design interaction with hardware and software production
  • configuration audits related to system integration – RSA (FCA), BS/BS Correspondence (PCA)
  • qualification
  • summary of key points

10. Verification and Validation

  • technical reviews
    • requirements reviews
    • principles of design review
    • architectural design review (ADR - PDR)
    • detail design review (DDR - CDR)
    • requirements satisfaction audits (FCA's)
    • design description (BS-BS) audits (PCA's)
    • technical reviews and incremental builds
    • administration of technical reviews
  • technical performance measurement
  • test and evaluation
  • other verification and validation methods and tools
  • summary of key points

11. Engineering Management

  • planning the engineering
  • integrating engineering specialties
  • engineering team structure
  • management frameworks – Specification Tree, Project Breakdown Structure (PBS – WBS)
  • managing configuration
  • managing interfaces
  • managing residual risk
  • summary of key points

12. Summary

  • key points revisited
  • tailoring of SE methods to specific activities or projects
  • getting the most out of systems engineering methods
  • process improvement: using CMMs™ and other benchmarks

About the Presenters

Mr. Alwyn Smit Pr Eng, CSEP

Mr Alwyn Smit is a Principal Consultant with Project Performance International (PPI). Alwyn has a B.Eng. (Electr) degree from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and is registered with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) as a professional engineer. He spent the bulk of his career working in the South African defence industry as systems engineer and project manager on technology-intensive projects, most recently as principal systems engineer with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

As a lead systems engineer, Mr Smit has contributed extensively to the development of complex technology demonstrators as well as the low volume production of weapon systems in the areas of anti-aircraft systems, radar systems, electronic warfare systems and specialised equipment for special forces application.

View Full Alwyn Smit Biography

Mr. Robert Halligan, FIE Aust.

An executive professional manager and engineering practitioner, Mr Halligan is known worldwide for his role in the practice and improvement of major projects. His work was initially with government and major transnational companies. For the last 24 years, he has worked in a consulting and training capacity, delivering an extensive training program on six continents.

View full Robert Halligan Biography

For further information on how to register, or to download a copy of the registration form, please click here.

Systems Engineering Overview Course Schedule (Scroll to view full schedule)

How to Register

There are three simple ways to register to one of our courses.

  1. Online. You may register online by clicking the "register online" link next to the course of interest.
  2. Fax. Download a registration form by clicking the link above the schedule and fax the completed form to our offices on +61 3 9876 2664 (Australia), +1 888 772 5191 (North America) and +55 12 3212 5582 (Brazil).
  3. Email. Download a registration form by clicking the link next to the course of interest and email the form here.

Upon receiving a completed registration form, a course confirmation letter and invoice will be sent electronically to the email provided within 1-2 business days. Payment can made by credit card or by bank transfer.

If you need any assistance with the registration process or have any queries, please call one of our friendly team members on Australia +61 3 9876 7345, UK +44 20 3608 6754, North America +1 888 772 5174, Brazil +55 11 3958 8064 or email us.

Closely Related Public Courses

Closely Related On Site Courses

  • Systems Engineering Overview (3-day)
  • World Class Systems Engineering (2-day)
  • Requirements Analysis, The Business Case for (2-hours)

View full on-site course list


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Quote of the Day

Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems. - Rene Descartes (1596-1650), Discours de la Methode

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