The Systems Engineering Method

  1. Customer[1] Expectations (Project Objectives and Mission Profile)
  2. High Level Requirements[2] (Level 1 Program/Project)
  3. Functional and Logical decompositions (Project WBS)
  4. Trade Studies and Iterative Design Loop
    1. Form Creative Design Solution (System PBS)
    2. Define Level 2 System and Subsystem Requirements
    3. Make Hardware and/or Software Model(s) and Perform Experiments
    4. Organize and Analyze Data
    5. Does Functional & Performance Analysis show design will meet Functional Design and concept of operations (ConOps) Requirements?
    6. If additional detail need, Repeat Process
  5. Select a preferred design
    1. Does the system work[3] (performance)?
    2. Is the system achievable within cost and schedule constraints?
    3. If the answer is no, adjust Customer’s Expectations (Step 1) and start again.
  6. Communicate Results (PDR and CDR)
  7. Preparing presentations (PDR and CDR)
  8. Reports, plans, and specifications. (Project Planning)
  9. Implement the design. (Project Implementation)
[1] NASA introduces the term Stakeholders at this time, a term that encompasses both the customer and individuals directly or indirectly effected by the project. Due to the introductory nature of this course, I will simply use the term customer.  
[2] Stakeholder Expectations
[3] This includes determining if the system is safe and reliable.

Searching for Creative Solutions

Once you have Identifying the real problem and gathered needed Information it is time to search for “original” creative solutions.

  • Here are several techniques to help you and your team produce original creative ideas.
  • Ideas may come from creativity, a subconscious effort, or innovation, a conscious effort.
  • The objective is to break the set patterns of thought that everyone develops (i.e., team’s thinking tends to fall into ruts).

Brainstorming (or Brainwriting) Approach

  • Brainstorming versus Brainwriting
    • All ideas are encouraged.
    • Write down as many ideas as possible
    • After a break, combine and improve ideas.
    • Delay judgment and evaluation of ideas until end…

Attribute (Properties) Listing

  • Step 1 – List the major attributes or properties of a product, object, or idea – The fish bones
  • Step 2 – For each attribute, Brainstorm how each of the attributes could be changed.

[1] For more on this topic Google the keyword “The Fishbone Diagram.”

Quality, Property, Character, Attribute

Attribute mean an intelligible feature by which a thing may be identified. Quality is a general term applicable to any trait or characteristic whether individual or generic  quality> Property implies a characteristic that belongs to a thing’s essential nature and may be used to describe a type or species  property of not conducting heat>Character applies to a peculiar and distinctive quality of a thing or a class  character>.  Attribute implies a quality ascribed to a thing or a being  attributes of a military hero>. Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  • For example, how can we improve the design of a cell phone?

Attribute Ideas