Entries by 'Joseph Elm'

Systems Engineering in Defense and Non-Defense Industries

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By Joseph Elm
Program Integration Manager
Software Solutions Division

Joseph ElmIn today’s systems it’s very hard to know where systems end and software begins. Software performs an integrating function in many systems, often serving as the glue interconnecting other system elements. We also find that many of the problems in software systems have their roots in systems engineering, which is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on how to design and manage complex systems over their life cycles. For that reason, staff at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute (SEI) often conduct research in the systems engineering realm. Process frameworks, architecture development and evaluation methods, and metrics developed for software are routinely adapted and applied to systems. Better systems engineering supports better software development, and both support better acquisition project performance. This blog post, the latest in a series on this research, analyzes project performance based on systems engineering activities in the defense and non-defense industries.

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The Value of Systems Engineering

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By Joseph Elm
Senior Member of the Technical Staff

Joseph ElmBuilding a complex weapon system in today’s environment may involve many subsystems—propulsion, hydraulics, power, controls, radar, structures, navigation, computers, and communications.  Design of these systems requires the expertise of engineers in particular disciplines, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, metallurgical engineering, and many others. But some activities of system development are interdisciplinary, including requirements development, trade studies, and architecture design, to name a few.  These tasks do not fit neatly into the traditional engineering disciplines, and require the attention of engineering staff with broader skills and backgrounds.  This need for breadth and experience is often met by systems engineers. Unfortunately, system engineering is often not valued among all stakeholders in the Department of Defense (DoD), and is often the first group of activities to be eliminated when a program is faced with budget constraints.  This blog post highlights recent research aimed at demonstrating the value of systems engineering to program managers in the DoD and elsewhere.

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