Systems Engineering (SE)

Systems Engineering the Lifecycle – An Approach for Developing Complex Systems Using Control Theory

by Jonathan Dorny; Tim Miller


Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary approach that concentrates on the design and application of the whole as distinct from the parts. For complex systems, this includes the challenge that the behavior of the system as a whole is not intuitively understood by understanding the components. Classic System Engineering models establish a perception of a beginning and an end of the systems engineering process. Unfortunately, a long period between product launch and discovery of unexpected behavior for systems may occur with a protracted lifecycle. A Systems Engineering approach based upon the “control theory” model establishes a high correlation between interdisciplinary models to facilitate feedback throughout the system lifecycle to tune capabilities to user satisfaction. This close coupling extends well beyond tracing of requirements to qualification testing fulfillment as practiced in the traditional “V” model. The system itself is a traceability link providing lifecycle feedback control on the current fulfillment of requirements versus expected fulfillment. The institution of this approach will establish a Systems Engineering feedback measure of user satisfaction from system inception to retirement, rather than merely a front-end design activity.