Difference between revisions of "Use Case 3: Customers of Systems Engineering"

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==The Use of Topics==
==Use of Topics==
SE Customers will find the following knowledge areas of the SEBoK to be relevant to their interests and needs:
SE Customers will find the following knowledge areas of the SEBoK to be relevant to their interests and needs:

Revision as of 21:57, 6 August 2012

Customers of systems engineering (SE) provide resources to SE organizations and individuals, and receive various SE products and services in return. They are among the stakeholders for a system of interest. They and other stakeholders have concerns expressed as needs and expectations in terms of the results that system engineers provide. The systems engineers participate in the realization of engineered systems resulting in products, services, enterprises, and systems of systems. Even though their main SE-related activities involve defining the system, customers must take account of all life cycle aspects. By better understanding the activities that systems engineers perform, customers can better know what they should request, how they should request it, how much to pay for it, and how to judge the quality and value of the results of systems engineering.

The SEBoK assists the customers of systems engineering by providing a broad comprehensive treatment of the concepts, principles, theory, and practice related to systems in general and systems engineering in particular. It cites important references to published books and articles that provide various perspectives on systems and systems engineering.

Customers can include sponsors of internal SE organizations, organizations having long-term customer-domain relationships with external SE organizations, and organizations outsourcing SE functions to general-purpose SE organizations. Two vignettes are provided to show how the SEBoK can assist SE customers. The first involves a customer of an internal SE organization in transitioning to a corporate mobile supply chain management system. The second involves a customer for the systems engineering of a catastrophe-response system of systems, involving a mix of customer-domain SE organizations and other needed SE organizations covering other domains and overall system of systems integration.

Use of Topics

SE Customers will find the following knowledge areas of the SEBoK to be relevant to their interests and needs:

Part 1 of the SEBoK provides Customers with an understanding of the relations among SE, system development, and project management. It summarizes overall trends in the rate of growth of systems interdependency, complexity, assurance levels, and pace of change; and of the evolving nature of integrated hardware-software- human systems. It also provides pointers to other parts of the SEBoK of interest to Customers

Part 3 of the SEBoK provides Customers with an understanding of evolving system life cycle models and their elements. It indicates which of the elements are SE-intensive, and provides overall perspectives and influence points on Customer participation the SE activity. In particular, Customers need to know how to express their concerns in the form of needs, expectations, and requirements in such a manner that the systems engineer can evaluate and use these inputs in establishing the approach to be followed in defining and realizing the system. Guidance is provided in the Life Cycle Models and System Definition knowledge areas.

The Customer should expect that the systems engineer will provide:

  • A well-architected product, service, enterprise, or system of systems that will meet their needs and expectations. This depends on high quality input from the stakeholders. Guidance for that input is provided in System Definition.
  • A managed life cycle model from the Customer need and requirements to the delivered product, service, enterprise or system of systems. Guidance is provided in Life Cycle Models.
  • The verification that the system of interest (SoI) will meet the needs and requirements of the stakeholders and the validation that the final result, when deployed in an operational environment, will provide the value added that was desired are critical to systems engineering (SE). Guidance on these aspects is provided in the System Realization and System Deployment and Use knowledge areas.

Part 4 provides Customers with an understanding of how the SE function varies by class of system product, service, enterprise, and systems of systems engineering). Part 6 provides them with specifics on how SE relates to project management, procurement and acquisition, and specialty engineering for such Customer-intensive specialties as safety, security, maintainability, usability, and affordability. Part 7 provides them with relevant case studies and vignettes illustrating how the parts have been used in similar situations in successes to emulate and failures to avoid. Two Customer vignettes are provided below as example use cases.

Implementation Examples

Good examples provide a basis for deeper understanding. The SEBoK includes Part 7, which contains summaries of and references to full case studies as well as overviews of events (vignettes) related to specific areas of systems engineering. These case studies and vignettes are linked back to the appropriate areas of the SEBoK and a matrix is provided that shows the primary areas of the SEBoK addressed by each case study or vignette. The reader can use the matrix to find case studies and vignettes, along with references, that are related to their particular concerns.

Vignette: Mobile Supply Chain Management

Barbara Bradley is the Director of Supply Chain Management Systems for a large manufacturing company. Her main area of expertise is transportation logistics. She has led the evolution of a highly successful corporate supply chain management system based on desktop and mainframe technology, more via incremental strategic choices than via formal SE. However, as many of the company’s suppliers and distributors are going to mobile devices and cloud services, she realizes that a transition of her current system to such new technologies this magnitude will require formal SE. A particular challenge will be to evolve to the new mode of operation while providing continuity of service to the supply chain stakeholders.

Barbara plans to put together a Next-Generation Supply Chain Management System integrated product team (IPT) to address the challenges. It would include her current supply chain experts, the corporate SE organization, and her supply-chain success-critical stakeholders. She has not used the corporate SE organization before, and would like to better understand an SE organization’s overall capabilities and modes of operation before going forward.

She particularly studies Part 3, with its coverage of life cycle models, particularly with respect to incremental development in ways that will maintain continuity of service. Part 3 also helps her understand the role of the Customer in the definition of SoIs, and how to provide guidance in expressing needs, concerns, and requirements. Further, she better understands the role of Customers at early decision milestones in terms of well-architected products and thorough development plans, budgets, and schedules; and in terms of product acceptance, including the results of verification of stakeholder requirements and the validation of the final result in respect to fulfilling the stakeholders’ needs and providing continuity of service. She also focuses on Part 4, as a supply chain management system combines product, service, enterprise, and systems of systems views; and on Part 6, particularly to get a better understanding of how to integrate SE and software engineering.

These insights give her a much clearer picture of how to proceed with the IPT in analyzing, negotiating, and defining an approach that is satisfactory to all of the success-critical stakeholders. As elsewhere, she begins to develop an IPT shared vision by having the IPT members read the portions of the SEBoK that she has found most valuable in reaching a viable definition of and transition to a Next-Generation Supply Chain Management System.

Vignette: Catastrophe-Response System of Systems

Ahmed Malik is the Information Systems Division General Manager in his country’s Department of Natural Resources. The country is often plagued by wildfires that destroy crops, forests, villages, and parts of cities. They also cause problems with the water supply, crime, and emergency care for the affected people. After a recent catastrophic wildfire in which capabilities for firefighting, crime prevention, traffic control, water supply maintenance, emergency care facilities, and other key capabilities were unable to communicate with each other, the Minister for Natural Resources was tasked with leading an effort to improve the country’s ability to respond to such catastrophes, and Ahmed was named as the SE Customer lead for the effort. He had strong information SE experience for systems within the Department of Natural Resources, but no experience in the SE of systems of systems (SoS). (This vignette is based on the Regional Area Crisis Response SoS (RACRS) in (Lane and Bohn 2010).

Ahmed’s Minister suggests that he organize a workshop involving the various public and private (medical, insurance, news media, etc.) organizations involved in catastrophe responses, and SE organizations with SoS experience to scope the problem and explore candidate solutions. Ahmed finds the SEBoK a most valuable resource in coming up to speed on his role as the SE Customer lead, based on the material in Part 3, and in better understanding the challenges of SoS SE, based on the SoS Knowledge Area in Part 6 and its references. He also schedules meetings with the leading SoS SE provider organizations, who are eager to ply him with information on their capabilities.

Thus prepared, he is able to bring together the primary organizations involved in catastrophe responses and the most capable SoS SE provider organizations, and to structure a workshop that addresses the key challenges: mutual understanding of organization roles, responsibilities, and authority; summary analyses of previous catastrophe response gaps and needs; candidate solution capabilities in communications, data access, geolocation services, public emergency warning systems, evacuation procedures, prioritized traffic management, architectural connector approaches for improving interoperability, and sharable models for evaluating alternative solution approaches. Again, the SEBoK is most helpful in providing both guidance and pointers to candidate solution sources.

The workshop results provided Ahmed and his Minister with sufficient information to prepare a phased plan, budget, and schedule for incremental development of improved catastrophe response capabilities, beginning with simple interoperability aids and analysis of architecture alternatives for performance, scalability, and feasibility of evolution from the initial simple fixes. The plan was then iterated with the key stakeholders, and converged to a common-consensus approach for achieving strong, credible early improvements and a way forward to a much more scalable and cost-effective catastrophe-response SoS.


For the Customers of systems engineering, the SEBoK provides both general and specific knowledge that will help users gain important insight in relating to systems engineers. Key to this is learning about life cycles, the definition of SoIs, and how to provide guidance in expressing needs, concerns, and requirements. Further, Customers need to know what to expect as a result of SE activities in the form of well-architected products, services, enterprises, or systems of systems and a managed life cycle. The results of verification of stakeholder requirements and the validation of the final result in respect to fulfilling the user needs are vital.


Works Cited

Lane, J. and T. Bohn. 2010. Using SySML to evolve systems of systems. USC CSSE Technical Report USC-CSSE-2010-506.

Primary References

INCOSE. 2011. Systems Engineering Handbook, version 3.2.2. San Diego, CA, USA: International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). INCOSE-TP-2003-002-03.2.

Jamshidi, M. (ed.) 2009b. Systems of Systems Engineering - Principles and Applications. Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press.

Sage, A., and Rouse, W. (eds.) 1999. Handbook of Systems Engineering and Management. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

U.S. Department of Defense. 2008. Systems engineering guide for system of systems, version 1.0. DOI= http://www.acq.osd.mil/sse/docs/SE-Guide-for-SoS.pdf

Additional References

Abran, A., J. W. Moore, P. Bourque, R. Dupuis, and L. L. Tripp. 2004. SWEBOK: Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge, 2004 version. Los Alamitos, CA, USA and Tokyo, Japan: IEEE Computer Society Press.

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