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System Engineering

System Engineering is a multidisciplinary engineering decision making process involved in designing and using systems and products throughout their life cycle.

Systems :

A system consists of a set of Sub-systems and components (or elements) that work together to perform one or more functions .

The components of a system generally have the following properties:

  • Each component has an effect on the whole system
  • Each element depends on other components and can not be divided into independent subsystems

Basic Characteristics of System Engineering approach are:

  • System Approach: the systems approach comprises simultaneous considerations of many systems, many attributes, trade offs between the attributes, life cycle, disciplines , other systems and working environments in solving problems (i.e. decision making)
  • Multidisciplinary Approach: system engineering is a multidisciplinary approach, that is, it obtains inputs from people from many different disciplines working together and considering many design and operations issue and trade-offs between different issues, to enable the realization of a successful product
  • Customer focused: system engineering begins with an understanding of customer needs and development of an acceptable concept of the product. It focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle , documenting requirements and proceeding with all the design sysnthesis and system validation while considering the whole picture.

The objective of System engineering is to ensure that the Product is designed , built, and operated so that it accomplishes its purpose of satisfying customers in the most cost-effective way possible by considering performance, safety, costs, schedule, and risks.


System Engineering Implementation is an iterative process which involves simultaneous considerations of inputs and output from professionals from many disciplines.

Simultaneous (or concurrent) Engineering requires constant communication between team members from all the disciplines to ensure that requirements for all the Product Attributes and trade-offs between the attributes are considered.

As whole picture the Simultaneous Engineering Process encompass the iterative loop of input & output information exchange among:

  • Product Engineering
  • Process & Manufacturing Engineering
  • Virtual and Testing Validation

The hierarchical Principles of system engineering are summarized with the so called “V” Model which generally define the hierarchical breakdown

which brings to transform Customer Requirements (must/wants) into Customer Experience & Feedbacks having as final goal the Customer Satisfaction


A System Engineering Development Process (or Product Development Process) is a high-Level Plan for managing the system engineering effort to produce a final operational Product (or System) from its initial requirements.

The System Engineering Development Process defines how the engineering portion of the program will be executed and controlled; it describes how the efforts of the system designers , test engineers and all other engineering and  technical disciplines will be integrated , monitored and controlled during the complete life cycle of the products.

In summary the system engineering Development Process describes what each team (or department) needs to do and when to achieve the product program objectives; thus, it addresses the traceability of stakeholder requirements and provide a plan to ensure that the right product (or system) will be developed during the entire program.


System Engineering is the global technical approach that is the foundation for the development of new products

In general, the approach to system engineering must include the followings steps at least

  • Define the functions performed by the system
  • Define the Parameters that best measure the system functions and the target values they should achieve to guarantee the customer satisfaction
  • Define which subsystems and components are part of the system and the influence for the achievement of the function performance target values
  • Identify any other system function which may compete with those mentioned in the first point
  • Establish a set of technical specifications

Basic flows for system engineering are the followings:

  • Requirements analysis
  • Design Synthesis
  • Evaluation & Validation

Keys sub-processes of System Engineering are the followings :

  • Requirements Cascading
  • Compatibility and Trade Off Studies
  • Traceability (Predict effects on system function of subsystem or component change)
  • Partitioning (from whole system to subsystem and components breakdown)
  • Interface compatibility and Integration
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