Systems engineering principles described in the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK) Parts 1-6 are illustrated in Part 7, Systems Engineering Implementation Examples. These examples describe the application of systems engineering practices, principles, and concepts in real settings. These systems engineering examples can be used to improve the practice of systems engineering by illustrating to students and practitioners the benefits of effective practice and the risks of poor practice. The SEBoK systems engineering implementation examples are grouped in two categories, case studies and vignettes . Case studies reference cases that have already been published by external sources in the existing literature. Vignettes are short wiki articles written specifically for the SEBoK.
List of Case Studies
The following case studies are included:
- Successful Business Transformation within a Russian Information Technology Company
- Federal Aviation Administration Next Generation Air Transportation System
- How Lack of Information Sharing Jeopardized the NASA/ESA Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn
- Hubble Space Telescope Case Study
- Global Positioning System Case Study
- Medical Radiation Case Study
- FBI Virtual Case File System Case Study
- MSTI Case Study
- Next Generation Medical Infusion Pump Case Study
Value of Case Studies
Case studies have been used for decades in medicine, law, and business to help students learn fundamentals and to help practitioners improve their practice. A Matrix of Implementation Examples is used to show the alignment of systems engineering case studies to specific areas of the SEBoK. This matrix is intended to provide linkages between each implementation example to the discussion of the systems engineering principles illustrated. The selection of case studies cover a variety of sources, domains, and geographic locations. Both effective and ineffective use of systems engineering principles are illustrated.
The number of publicly available systems engineering case studies is growing. Case studies that highlight the aerospace domain are more prevalent, but there is a growing number of examples beyond this domain.
The United States Air Force Center for Systems Engineering (AF CSE) has developed a set of case studies "to facilitate learning by emphasizing the long-term consequences of the systems engineering/programmatic decisions on cost, schedule, and operational effectiveness." (USAF Center for Systems Engineering 2011) The AF CSE is using these cases to enhance SE curriculum. The cases are structured using the Friedman-Sage framework (Friedman and Sage 2003; Friedman and Sage 2004, 84-96), which decomposes a case into contractor, government, and shared responsibilities in the following nine concept areas:
- Requirements Definition and Management
- Systems Architecture Development
- System/Subsystem Design
- Risk Management
- Systems Integration and Interfaces
- Life Cycle Support
- Deployment and Post Deployment
- System and Program Management
This framework forms the basis of the case study analysis carried out by the AF CSE. Two of these case studies are highlighted in this SEBoK section, the Hubble Space Telescope Case Study and the Global Positioning System Case Study.
The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a catalog of more than fifty NASA-related case studies (NASA 2011). These case studies include insights about both program management and systems engineering. Varying in the level of detail, topics addressed, and source organization, these case studies are used to enhance learning at workshops, training, retreats, and conferences. The use of case studies is viewed as important by NASA since "organizational learning takes place when knowledge is shared in usable ways among organizational members. Knowledge is most usable when it is contextual" (NASA 2011). Case study teaching is a method for sharing contextual knowledge to enable reapplication of lessons learned. The MSTI Case Study is from this catalog.
Friedman, G.R., and A.P. Sage. 2003. Systems Engineering Concepts: Illustration Through Case Studies.
Friedman, G.R., and A.P. Sage. 2004. "Case Studies of Systems Engineering and Management in Systems Acquisition." Systems Engineering. 7 (1): 84-96.
NASA. 2011. A Catalog of NASA-Related Case Studies. Goddard Space Flight Center: Office of the Chief Knowledge Officer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Updated June 2011. Accessed September 2011. Available: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/pdf/450420main_NASA_Case_Study_Catalog.pdf.
United States Air Force (USAF) Center for Systems Engineering. 2011. Why Case Studies?. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA: Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), US Air Force. Accessed September 2011. Available: http://www.afit.edu/cse/cases.cfm.
Gorod, A., B.E. White, V. Ireland, S.J. Gandhi, and B.J. Sauser. 2014. Case Studies in System of Systems, Enterprise Systems, and Complex Systems Engineering. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
United States Air Force (USAF) Center for Systems Engineering. 2011. Why Case Studies?. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, USA: Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).
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