Systems Engineering (SE)

Re-Uniting Decision Analysis with Systems Engineering: Explicating System Value through First Principles

by Troy Peterson; Bill Schindel


System complexity continues to grow, creating many new challenges for engineers and decision makers. To maximize value delivery, amidst this complexity, “both” Systems Engineering and Decision Analysis capabilities are essential. For well over a decade the systems engineering profession has had a significant focus on improving systems engineering processes. While process plays an important role, the focus on process was often at the expense of foundational engineering axioms and their contribution to system value. As a consequence, Systems Engineers were viewed as process shepherds which diluted their technical influence on programs. With the recent shift toward Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) the Systems Engineering discipline is “getting back to basics,” focusing on value delivery via foundational engineering axioms built upon first principles, using established laws of engineering and science. This paper will share how Pattern Based Systems Engineering (PBSE), as outlined within INCOSE’s Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) initiative, is a methodology which explicates system value through an understanding and explicit modeling of first principles, better re-uniting Systems Engineering and Decision Analysis capabilities.