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Systems Engineering

Systems Engineeering (SE) is difficult to explain in just a few words on a single webpage but I will try to be brief.

Historically SE came about because as products became more and more complex and/or companies more competitive it became more difficult to manufacture items in time, to cost whilst maintaining high quality to the expectations/requirements of their customers who were equally under increasing pressure to 'out perform' their competition. The advent of the desktop computer in the early nineties triggered huge change that could enable an increase in business efficiency. I went to my first INCoSE meeting whilst at British Aerospace (Civil) in approximately 1995 and it was at that meeting that I came to realise that their thinking was much like mine but I got distracted by other things and so did not make as much of it as I could have done - I was always a systems oriented thinker though. In time and through a lot of effort others have created a 'direction' for all of those involved with complex/safety critical systems. Even though guidelines have been developed (INCoSE 'SE Handbook') there is always the risk that other people will have what they think are better ideas or ways to work. I have found that the INCoSE organisation supports logic and experience.

As SE engineers we need to have strong and common foundations to help us, singularly or in teams, to accomplish our 'customers' objectives and our own technical goals. I soon learnt that as things became more complex and with increasing workloads it was necessary to address the underlying engineering supporting activities that were necessary to ensure agreed milestones were being met. This still applies today, many companies are still spending too much money and too much time to get their product/process to market.