17 June 2011

Challenges in Systems Engineering

What are the typical challenges you are faced with in Systems Engineering?

  • Systems are getting more and more complex (http://bit.ly/jB8WSL)
  • Systems are often composed of hardware and software
  • Systems must have certain mechanical and/or electrical characteristics
  • Systems are developed by distributed teams
  • Communication between these teams is often weak
  • Systems – or at least parts of them – are safety-critical
  • Systems and their development must comply to certain standards and regulations
  • Systems are developed under increasing competitive pressure
  • Systems need to be delivered in several variants

Anything else? Please let us know!

To overcome these challenges organizations today use appropriate tools supporting the different phases of systems development. Let’s take some easy examples: do you believe that a worker in a car factory is using a simple screwdriver? No, he will definitely use a pneumatic wrench being able to tighten hundreds of screws per day. How about technical drawings of systems like cars or air planes? Without a professional CAD solution hardly imaginable.

But when it comes to requirements professional tool support is often missing although requirements form the base for all other Systems Engineering disciplines. Introducing a centralized requirements management solution improves communication between the different development teams (e.g. hardware development / software development) because all the requirements and their relationships are accessible for all of them. Whenever a hardware requirements needs to be change the software developer are able to see which of their requirements might be affected. Requirements Management solutions do also help identifying safety-critical parts of the system on which developers need to pay special attention (e.g. risk management).

Think about it!

By: Andreas Plette

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