July 1, 2014

System Engineering Process and Its Management

Industrial Engineering Article Series

Can industrial engineers design systems internally in IE departments?

They may not be able to design any complex system without the involvement of technical personnel belonging to the area of technology or management. But they can take the role of management of system design.

System Engineering and Industrial Engineering

The definition of Industrial engineering says that it is concerned with design, improvement and installation of systems of men, materials, machines, information, and energy.

Some industrial engineers describe themselves as system designers. Some industrial engineering programs have renamed themselves as industrial and systems engineering. Why such name change was required? Are industrial engineering and system engineering different? If they were different, were they defined differently by the sponsors of these programs? The issue is worthy of exploration.

I advocate that industrial engineering has two core areas of focus: human effort engineering and system efficiency engineering. Therefore, they have a specific role in design of systems of men, materials, machines, information, and energy. The profession included in its definition concern related to design, improvement and installation of systems of men, materials, machines, information, and energy. Can industrial engineers design systems internally in IE departments. They may not be able to design any complex system without the involvement of technical personnel belonging to the area of technology or management. But they can take the role of management of system design.

Hence in industrial engineering curriculums management of system design has to be a subject.

I came across the book, Systems Engineering Guidebook by James Martin published by CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA in 1996. This book is a description of a process framework for implementing the methods of engineering a system. This book describes the management of system design adequately to be a beginning point for exploring the subject. This book is also an outcome of the two internal editions of AT&T process document, which was prepared or chartered by the systems engineering process management team. James Martin was Editor-in-Chief for the second edition of the process document.

Definition of Systems Engineering

Systems Engineering (SE) basically consists of four elements:

1. SE Management plans, organizes, controls and directs the technical development of a system or its products.
2. Requirements and Architecture Definition defines the technical requirements based on stakeholder requirements, defines a strucute (or an architecture) for the system components, and allocates these requirements to the components of this architecuture.
3. Development of Sub Systems
4. System Integration and Verification integrates the components of the architecture at each level of the architecture and verifies that the system requirements for those components are met.

At any level in the architecture, a component can be passed to a development team for detail design of that component. Its means IE team will receive the component of human effort engineering and system efficiency engineering during some state of a system's design.

To support systems engineering process four types of teams are typically used.

1. SE Management Team
2. Requirements and Architecture Team
3. Development Team
4. System Integration and Verification Team

SE Management Subprocess

Essential activities of this subprocess are:

Overall objectives of the system design, development and deployment program are defined.

Management processes for various technical activities involved System DDD including methods and techniques for evaluation of effectiveness, risk, quality, and efficiency are specified.

The SE process to be applied to the project is to be documented in a SE Management Plan.

Project's progress will be tracked and managed.

Configuration management (CM) activity will control configuration change requests and the necessary changes to requirements.

Risk management will be undertaken

Requirements and Architecture Definition Subprocess

Essential activities

Customer needs and requirements are ascertained or defined or refined as appropriate.

Assessment of available technologies is done to determine the constraints on the requirements and architecture definition subprocess.

Requirements are analyzed, and are derived and further refined where necessary.

Optimization analysis is done to identify desired characteristics of the system.

System behavior is defined through functional analysis, and functional performance requirements are allocated to these functions.

Architecture is defined and requirements are traced to all system elements.

Requirements for each system element are documented in specifications, drawings and interface documents.

Design. Production and Deployment Subprocess

Eight primary functions are associated with system life cycle. They are development, production, test, deployment, operations, training, support, and disposition. The products in the system engineering process associated with operations are termed as end products and products associated with other phases are termed enabling products.

Core Design teams develop the operations end products and the test enabling products.

Integrated Logistics Support teams develop the support and training enabling products.

Production teams develop the production enabling products.

Deployment teams develop the deployment and disposition enabling products.

System management teams and other teams develop development enabling products.

Systems Integration and Verification Subprocess

Essential Elements

System integration and verification plan is developed.

Test and evaluation requirements are defined.

Test activities are developed for each element.

Integration activities are developed for each pair of elements.

Key Elements of Systems Engineering

1. Systems Engineering Management Plan
2. Systems Engineering Master Schedule - Key Milestones and events
3. Systems Engineering Detailed Schedule - Task oriented schedule.
4. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)- Products and process development plan and due dates.
5. Requirements
6. Technical Performance Measurement: of the system
7. Technical Review and Audits: Technical review of the progress of the project

Key Questions of Systems Engineering


What needs are we trying to fill

Operations Concept

Who are the intended users

Functional Requirements

What specific services will we provide

System Architecture

What elements make up the overall approach?

Allocated Requirements

Which elements address which requirements?

Detailed Design

Are the details correct?
Do they meet requirements?


Will the solution be satisfactory in terms of cost and schedule?


What is our evidence of success?


James Martin, Systems Engineering Guidebook, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, USA , 1996.

Updated 1 July 2014, 14 Dec 2011

System Engineering Course Pages, Articles and Papers

Course on Design in Space Systems http://www.aoe.vt.edu/~cdhall/courses/aoe4065/
A good Presentation on System Engineering http://www.aoe.vt.edu/~cdhall/courses/aoe4065/SE.pdf
The System Architecture Process: http://www.gaudisite.nl/SystemArchitectureProcessPaper.pdf
What is Systems Engineering? A Consensus of the INCOSE Fellows

Related Knols

Industrial Engineering and Systems Design

System Engineering Process and Its Management
Systems Engineering - INCOSE View

Systems Engineering Fundamentals - Book Information and Review.
Systems Engineering and Management - Smith and Rowland
Systems Efficiency Engineering - A Focus Area of Industrial Engineering
Human Effort Engineering

Originally posted

Industrial Engineering Knowledge Revision Plan - One Year Plan

January - February - March - April - May - June

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this information.
    It will really helpful to solve my confusion

    Process $ Chemical Engineering