Systems Engineering

from the Perspective of Competitive Advantage

Edwin B. Dean


[NASA Logo] Wymore (1993) defines systems engineering as "the intellectual, academic, and professional discipline the principal concern of which is the responsibility to ensure that all requirements for a bioware/hardware/software system are satisfied throughout the life cycle of the system."

Since requirements are drivers of competitive advantage, the systems engineer has the major responsibility for the competitive advantage of the system.

Wymore (1993) further states that the primary functions of a systems engineer are

I believe that systems engineering is the set of project functions which ensures that the customer/user gets the system which they desire.

Since requirements are competitiveness drivers and since systems engineering is performed largely independent of implementation, much of the competitiveness of a system is determined prior to the definition of the specific engineering implementation. Thus, to be more competitive, more effort needs to be expended in the upfront abstract activities and less in the following more concrete activities. Hall (1993) makes the point that the system engineers role should also be expanded to include configuration managent and planning for the user of a delivered system in order to reduce their cost over the life cycle. This is very much in line with the concept of the Taguchi loss function (Peace, 1993) which relates cost after delivery to the customer and quality; the lower the cost, the higher the quality.

The future challenge is find the appropriate processes and the appropriate system balance!





Systems Engineering Bibliography



International Council on Systems Engineering
Hampton Roads Area Chapter
INCOSE Definition of Systems Engineering
International Symposia
Systems Engineering Principles
AIAA Systems Engineering Technical Committee


Surfing the Web

Ernesto's Systems Engineering Site
SpaceTech Postgraduate Space Systems Engineering Education
Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy
Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia
Systems Engineering at the Virginia Tech
Systems Engineering Sites


Table of Contents | System Technologies | Use