Systems Engineering (glossary)

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(1) Interdisciplinary approach governing the total technical and managerial effort required to transform a set of customer needs, expectations, and constraints into a solution and to support that solution throughout its life. (ISO/IEC/IEEE 2010)

(2) An interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem:

  • Operations
  • Performance
  • Test
  • Manufacturing
  • Cost & Schedule
  • Training & Support
  • Disposal

Systems engineering integrates all the disciplines and specialty groups into a team effort forming a structured development process that proceeds from concept to production to operation. Systems engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user needs. (INCOSE 2012)

Source

(1) ISO/IEC/IEEE. 2010. Systems and Software Engineering - System and Software Engineering Vocabulary (SEVocab). Geneva, Switzerland: International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)/ Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). ISO/IEC/IEEE 24765:2010.

(2) INCOSE. 2012. INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook, version 3.2.2. San Diego, CA, USA: International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), INCOSE-TP-2003-002-03.2.2.

Discussion

There are many definitions of systems engineering. The SEBOK presents two from foundational documents. Note that both stress the interdisciplinary nature of systems engineering and its application throughout the life of the system.

In the Systems Engineering Overview article, the authors modified the INCOSE definition, saying traditional definitions of SE have emphasized sequential performance of SE activities, e.g., “documenting requirements, then proceeding with design synthesis …”. (INCOSE 2012) The SEBoK authors depart from tradition to emphasize the inevitable intertwining of system requirements definition and system design in the following revised definition of SE:

Systems Engineering (SE) is an interdisciplinary approach and means to enable the realization of successful systems. It focuses on holistically and concurrently understanding stakeholder needs; exploring opportunities; documenting requirements; and synthesizing, verifying, validating, and evolving solutions while considering the complete problem, from system concept exploration through system disposal.

SEBoK v. 1.9.1, released 16 October 2018