Over one-third of projects will fail, and two-thirds will only achieve some of their goals. It is estimated that a lack of proper systems engineering is responsible for half of all total project failures. In order to help ensure that your projects do not wind up falling short, it is important to include systems engineering.

When systems succeed, the public generally does not notice. Things work as they are supposed to and it is generally just another day. When systems fail, however, the public becomes vastly aware of the shortcomings of the organizations involved. It is also possible that people get hurt. In order to prevent all of this, it is important to make sure that systems are properly engineered.

Overview: What is systems engineering?

Systems engineering can be defined as a focus on the management, design, and integration of systems over the span of their life cycles.

3 benefits of systems engineering

There are some clear benefits of systems engineering:

1. Best solutions

Proper systems engineering helps produce solutions that are robust, efficient, and economically viable.

2. Roots out blind spots

With systems engineering, you are able to sidestep assumptions and remedy omissions.

3. Makes sense of complex systems

Systems engineering allows for the strategic and thorough management of complex systems.

Why is systems engineering important to understand?

Systems engineering is important to understand for the following reasons:

Client needs

By having a knowledge of systems engineering, you are better equipped to understand and deliver on the needs of the client.

Program management

If you are a program manager, understanding systems engineering allows for better management of change throughout the lifecycle of a project.

Resource management

Understanding systems engineering creates an environment where costs and timeframes are handled more efficiently.

An industry example of systems engineering

A company joins the race to be able to regularly send everyday citizens into outer space. It is striving to safely be able to have near-daily launches available to the public for less than the competition. In order to make this a reality, it will likely take years of thorough and rigorous systems engineering. This system to be engineered will be very complex and will include various subsystems, components, and parts. Just a few of the aspects of the overall system will be launch procedures, vehicles, support crews, communications, and mission control.

3 best practices when thinking about systems engineering

Here are some key practices to consider when thinking about systems engineering:

1. Teaming up

Program managers and systems engineers working together can help achieve the best results for a project.

2. Scalability

Embrace the scalability of systems engineering techniques. They can be utilized for the size and scope of any project.

3. Utilize systems engineering from the beginning of a project

Plans and decisions that are made early in the lifecycle of a project can significantly reduce risk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about systems engineering

How much money can systems engineering save?

Research shows that systems engineering can typically save ten to twenty percent of the budget for a project.

What are the 7 steps to success in systems engineering?

• Understand what the problem is
• Investigate solutions
• Define and reach a consensus on the architecture of the system
• Manage requirements
• Manage interfaces
• Test support systems
• Track progress in relation to the plan

What is the triangular hierarchy of systems engineering?

At the top of the triangle is defining the purpose of the system. Next, the operational concept will need to be prepared. Only after these two higher points of the triangle are addressed should you then move on to designing the system.

Systems engineering success

Systems engineering is a process developed with the specific goal of creating systems successfully. If you are embarking on a project, you are likely going to want to have a system. It only stands to reason that to help make sure your project is successful, you will want to have a working knowledge of how to integrate systems engineering into your work.

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