Abstract—The primary goal of this paper is to address three major topics, such as understanding system engineering, system engineering as a discipline and as a course, team working and communication. This paper will address the listed topics, and give necessary solutions to questions that may arise later on under each of these topics.
Keywords— CSE, essay
In today’s technology era, the need for new and stable systems is ever-present. These systems can be built by using the three key models which will be discussed in this paper. It will explore the different modeling tools and lifecycle processes that exist in today’s systems engineering. This will be done by examining the three key models which will be compared and contrasted in this paper. It will also introduce the author’s research into systems engineering as both a discipline and as a course. This will be done by looking at where systems engineering can be applied, how relevant system engineering could be, why the course is relevant and how relevant these three topics are to the successful completion of any systems engineering projects.
The last section discusses teamwork and communication in system engineering. These are essential skills that must be learned and developed to be successful in the field of systems engineering. In a meantime, these topics will be addressed in the following sections.
II. Discussion of TOPICS
A. Understanding System Engineering
In order to address this topic, three models will be considered, and they are; vee model, improved waterfall model and linear model. According to INCOSE -“The vee model is a model that has been in existence since 1980’s”, it helps to show the level of design activities in an easily understandable logical flow of design, from a concept analysis stage up to system level. Vee model has two sides through which decomposition and integration occur; whereas it has a connection that connects the two sides together, which is known as symmetry.
Taking a deep look into the “Vee” model, it’s also examined the basic view of system engineering, as the decomposition of problems into pieces and the integration of these pieces to form a whole solution. In reference to Tarmo Robal (Ph.D.) - Vee model permit system functional and preliminary design review at its decomposition and definition stage, the critical design review is carried out at the symmetry stage during this period all design requirements are complete. In addition, the test readiness review and system verification review occur at the integration and verification stage of the vee model. The 5 R’s are essential in the lifecycle of every system and vee model provides the possibility of carrying out these reviews in accordance to its sides definition and activities they perform.
The design simplicity of vee model makes it easy for system engineers to carry stakeholders along on each stage of system design process. It should be noted, that the design process in vee model mostly occurs sequentially which is in contrast to activities that typically occur incrementally, iteratively or concurrently. In this case every preceding stage must be verified and approved (Decision gate must be satisfied) before proceeding to the next stage.
These illustrations about vee model help to easily understand how the model work and how to apply it professionally to system engineering problems in the future.
The Improved waterfall model- is another model that is useful in handling complex project; it is an improved waterfall model from the classic waterfall model. The differences between the two waterfall models above is that the classic waterfall model is unidirectional, i.e. once there is an error in the processed stage in the model, there is no way to go back. Whereas improved waterfall is bidirectional, it gives the possibility of correcting errors from preceding phases. Therefore, it reduces the amount of risk and uncertainty that could occur in a system during system design and integration. According to INCOSE-“the model was developed by Boehm’s in 1981”.
This model starts from the concept definition phase down to the system disposition phase, the design and verification of each of these phases are in series, and they are carried out one after the other before moving to the next phase of the model. Obviously, the possibility of being able, to correct errors from the preceding phases in the model, makes it more useful in handling complex system development. In a nutshell, during the process of developing complex systems, this model is useful and it could be applied to system engineering problems in the future as human remains human and they are prone to error making. Therefore, with this model, it’s possible to correct possible errors, from the preceding stage within the model by going back to make the necessary amendment.
The Linear Model – is a sequential way of designing in unidirectional flow, the output from the preceding phase produces the input of the next phase. Therefore, the total perfection of each design activities, on each phase, before the next are required. According to Linear model, the phases consist of concept development, engineering development and post-development. It is possible to consider this model in future when considering the operational deficiencies of a system, which “need” required a new system of its kind, and the technological opportunities, that the new system will provide.
B. System engineering as a discipline and as a course
According to INCOSE – “System engineering is an engineering discipline whose responsibility is creating and executing an interdisciplinary process to ensure that the customer and stakeholder’s needs are satisfied in high quality, trustworthy, cost-efficient and schedule compliant manner throughout a system’s entire life cycle.
Application of system engineering mostly focus on managing and designing complex systems, e.g. system engineer will help in performing aircraft technical risk assessments design and will also help in preparation of risk mitigation plans etc. This, of course, makes system engineering a relevant course that is compulsory to broaden every system engineer’s knowledge about system engineering as a discipline and as a course. It, therefore, helps the moral knowledge and expands the thinking capability of system engineers, on how to apply system engineering principles, to solve technical problems. INCOSE further emphasized that system engineering – “it’s a way of thinking, it is not about software engineering, hardware engineering, or other engineering disciplines but it oversees the engineering’s”.
System engineering is a discipline that must be taught according to the standardization of IEEE and ISO/IEC in an understandable manner. Therefore, a good structure and updated materials are one of the most aspects of this course that gives the student the needed skills and prepared them for the tasks ahead. Every aspect of this course was covered well in accordance with system engineering monitory body. According to Tarmo Robal (Ph.D.) – “learning is not a child play”, even the oldest student taking this course realizes that. Therefore, studying this course, required self-discipline and self-motivation, in this case, students aspire to learn without leaving no stone unturned. Basically, nothing was missing from this course as it was in accordance to regulatory engineering body. Thanks to Tarmo Robal (Ph.D.), for his indisputable effort with those well-structured and deadlines reminder been put in places for students. Those deadlines reminder on each slide, help student to manage up there time and carry out their task accordingly without missing deadlines.
C. Teamworking and Communication
The opinion given about the course teamwork and communication is that it’s highly effective; it’s a way to gain knowledge about teamwork. It’s an environment to develop needed skills, on how to manage the project within a given time frame. This improves student ability on how to multitask. According to Tarmo, “system engineer is expected to multiplex many activities at the same time. These skills will be useful in the professional field to carry out and deliver project within a given time frame. It should be noted that more knowledge is gain on how to think within a short time to give solution to difficult technical problems.
The most difficult time during teamwork is about decision making (the question of what should be the final decision now?). These difficulties were melted down with the introduction of decision analysis to weigh alternatives and balance assumptions. For instance, the answer to which system management language diagram, to use, to showcase the activity of our system, came from the word “activity”.
In addition, good commands of English within teamwork give solutions to many problems, within a short period of time. Therefore, team communication for teamwork is highly valuable, as it helps team to agree, to disagree and to arrive at a better solution for the given task at hand. In conclusion to this, appreciating each team member effort is the best way of improving team working.
This paper addressed the mentioned topics introduced earlier and gives an adequate answer to each of the topics. The paper emphasized on the three models, that could be used in understanding system engineering, such as improved waterfall model, which shows a highly technical level of handling error, and therefore makes it the good enough model to consider during development of complex systems. Whereas, vee model can be considered during development of small projects that would not require much scrutiny. And linear model permits preceding outputs to act as inputs of the next phase within the model; it’s therefore useful when considering new system based on their previous operational deficiencies and what technology opportunity the new system will provide.
Furthermore, system engineering was considered as both a discipline and as a course, it’s a way of thinking, it is not about software or hardware engineering it’s about system engineering itself which includes hardware, software, risk, funds, and people. The usefulness of teamwork and good communication was also covered as a good way to learn and gain new skills for future career. It was further emphasized on how decision analysis (a course in system engineering), was useful to arrive at quick decision during team work. Nevertheless, teamwork could be improved through each member, through the appreciation for one another and the process itself.
 Systems Engineering Handbook. A guide for system life cycle processes and activities. INCOSE 2011
 Systems Engineering Materials. Taltech. Tarmo Robal (Phd)
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