Systems engineering training and consulting
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Systems Engineering Overview

A course presented over 3 days by Robert HalliganAlwyn SmitClive Tudge or Michael Gainford.

Systems engineering can be thought of as the problem-independent and technology-independent principles of, and methods for, the engineering of systems, based on systems thinking. This 3-day Systems Engineering short course provides an overview of the principles and methods of systems engineering: an interdisciplinary, collaborative approach to the engineering of system solutions, adopted by leading enterprises worldwide, that aims to capture stakeholder needs, objectives and values, and to transform this problem definition into a holistic, life-cycle balanced system solution. This solution must satisfy the imperatives, and should optimize overall project and solution effectiveness according to the values of the stakeholders who are being served.

The course is suited to those who need familiarity with systems engineering principles and methods, without actually practicing them to any significant degree. Those in roles that interface with systems engineering activities will find the course especially relevant. We have found that is not possible to teach systems engineering in a three-day course to those who have to practice it to any substantial degree. Decades of experience in delivering systems engineering training support this view. However, an objective of achieving a common understanding of the nature and principles of systems engineering, viz. the systems approach to the engineering of systems, is certainly achievable.

In course design and delivery, as you would expect, examples are used verbally in delivery, formally in courseware, and in the workshops. Verbal examples are always chosen to match the application domain(s) of the participants, to the maximum extent possible. Examples in courseware are diverse. The workshops, which play the major role in learning, relate to a single workshop system, the application of which anyone can understand. The design workshops for the same system are selected to match a diverse range of technology backgrounds.

At the conclusion of the course, participants are expected to have a common understanding of SE principles, process elements with which to implement those principles, and their relationships. The process elements are requirements capture and validation (requirements analysis), physical and logical design, effectiveness evaluation and decision (the conduct of trade-off analysis), requirements specification, system integration, verification, validation, and systems engineering management. All of the above is within the context of typical life-cycle phases, such as problem definition, solution development, production, utilization, support and disposal. The different development styles of waterfall, incremental, evolutionary and spiral are emphasized, as is the practice of concurrent (simultaneous) engineering.

This introductory course does not require an engineering background. Systems engineering is primarily concerned with:

  • problem definition on a life cycle basis;
  • problem-solving;
  • verification that requirements have been satisfied;
  • validation that work products satisfy needs; and
  • management of the above.

Systems engineering does necessitate or develop an ability to think in abstract terms, as a means to the end of developing the right thing correctly, and showing that we have done so.

This course is recognized by Engineers Australia for CPD purposes (24 hours). This course may be credited toward the maintenance of the INCOSE Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) accreditation for 24 Professional Development Units. This course is recognized by ECSA South Africa (ref. INCOSE 19/001) for CPD 3 points.