Systems Engineering Executive Overview:

Course Details

This course provides a review and summary of the complete end-to-end systems engineering process with an emphasis on recent improvements in the process and best practices.  Targeted at managers and senior systems engineers, this course provides participants with the knowledge they require to better manage and lead systems engineering efforts.  Participants will be better equipped to provide superior systems engineering leadership and management through:

More effective product-based planning and progress measurement

Better communication with systems engineers across government, FFRDC, SETA, and contractor teams as enabled by a complete end-to-end understanding of the systems engineering process and language

An improved understanding of how to apply systems engineering processes and concepts to heterogeneous hardware/software systems, ground systems, and space systems

Participants in this class are assumed to be typically mid- to senior-level managers with extensive systems engineering experience.  A purpose of this class is to acquaint them with the topics and terminology that their employees use in Systems Engineering.  Course content will be at the graduate school level and will include examples drawn from both unclassified and classified systems.

This course consists of 24 classroom hours.  There will be at least one practical exercise required of the participants for each major topic.  Participants will be asked to present their solutions to exercises to the rest of the class.  The course will concentrate on topics and practical examples that are appropriate to the more senior systems engineering managers.  Participants are expected to enhance the course with active, constructive contribution.

Executives will gain a critical understanding of:

The strategic importance of systems engineering in the 21st century

oHow systems engineering and architecture enable a competitive advantage for the U.S.

oHow the systems engineering discipline can and does lead to faster and more effective deployment of superior space systems

oThe role systems engineering plays in complex system life cycle management

The nature of systems, how they are developed, engineered, and managed

oSystems engineering concepts, terminology, and current practices

oSystems engineering success factors

S/E management techniques for:

oEstablishing an effective team environment

oMaintaining open communication among subordinates

oDeliverables-based systems engineering management

oEstablishing true, cost-effective process discipline

Background knowledge SE managers must have in order to be effective covering:

oThe hierarchical nature of systems

oDeveloping systems engineering plans

oDeveloping a Concept of Operations

oFunctional Analysis

oVerification and Validation

oRequirements Definition and Specification

oInterface Definition and Control

oThe Systems Engineering Process.

What outstanding SE managers must know regarding:

oIntegrated Product Teams

oWork Breakdown Structure

oRunning the Most Effective Technical Meetings

oTechnical Reviews and Audits

oConfiguration Management

oCost and Schedule Estimating Techniques

oRisk Management

oProduct-Based Systems Engineering Management

How to assess the performance and skills of employees working in a systems engineering environment

oSkill assessment litmus tests

oSpecific early-warning performance indicators

oOn-going performance metrics for systems engineering

The class approach consists of:

                    Short lectures with extensive backup material and interactive classroom exercises

Significant classroom discussion of lectures and exercise material as needed to “make the material stimulating, motivating, and relevant”

Class Exercises:

Moderated by the instructor

Done in teams of 5 to 6

Presenters chosen at random by instructor

Critiqued by the entire class

Exercises relevant to course material and participant work interests

Most exercises based on real world case studies from government (mostly civil) space programs and projects

Mini ad hoc exercises called by the instructor periodically as needed based on the class “getting” the material

Lecture and exercise pace is student and class-dependant.

The topics are organized into the following sections:

Topic 1: Introductory Material: content and course approach

Topic 2: Background Material and Management Perspectives: a review of systems engineering terminology; the strategic importance of systems engineering in the 21st Century; management roles and interactions; managing and cultivating great systems engineers; the systems engineering manager’s key dilemma; unique challenges and approaches for software intensive heterogeneous systems; the DoD view of systems engineering as process; and the role of systems engineering in the life cycle of a program

Topic 3: Requirements and Specifications:  definition of requirements analysis; types of requirements; the three DoD views of requirements; a procedure for requirements analysis; a requirement development process; introduction to requirements creep (and how to protect against it); a checklist for requirements review; and the Golden Rule of Requirements

Topic 4: Architecture and Functional Analysis:  the inputs, outputs, controls, enablers, and activities necessary to perform functional analysis and allocation

Topic 5: System Analysis, Trades, and Synthesis:  the inputs, outputs, controls, enablers, and activities necessary to perform design synthesis; recognizing that the role of system analysis and modeling is to produce rigorous evaluations to foster better decisions in the design process

Topic 6: Interface and Configuration Management:  characterizing the physical architecture (a systems view of how to describe the design), interface management and configuration management

Topic 7: System Engineering Teams and Reviews:  effective systems engineering teams; specialists supporting systems engineering; successful reviews

Topic 8: Integration, Verification and Validation:  test and evaluation requirements; the verification process; software testing; developing the system test plan

Topic 9: Planning Systems Engineering:  work breakdown structures and key guidelines to developing an effective WBS; scheduling approaches (such as earned value measurement systems); elements of a good plan

Topic 10: Systems Engineering Management and Costing:  organizational considerations; roles and responsibilities; cost estimation approaches

Topic 11: Risk Management:  managing technical performance measures; risk management methodologies

Topic 12: Software Management and Systems Engineering:  the software development process as contrasted with hardware development; software management approaches; object-oriented design and programming (OOD, OOP); estimating software size and cost; software metrics; software integration and test; use of COTS software; closing observations regarding software development that have been documented in the literature

Wrap-up: Tools, Benefits, and Failures, including the importance of avoiding “cargo cult” systems engineering, or following the forms without understanding their intent is to provide added value and not just to check off a CDRL requirement.  Also included are recommendations on how to apply the lessons of this course.

The course is held on three consecutive days with 8-hour class sessions each day.  Classes will be held during normal business hours (between 0800 and 1700).

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