System Engineering: Definition, Types, Working procedure, Advantages, Disadvantages


System Engineering is a field of engineering and engineering management and focuses on the design, integration, and the manage complex system over their life cycles. It utilizes the systems to organize the body of knowledge. It approaches enabling the successful realization, use, and retirement of the engineered systems, using the principles and concepts of the system and management methods.

System Engineering provides facilitation, guidance, and leadership to the specialty groups in a cohesive effort, forming a structured development process from the concept to production, operation, evolution, and eventual disposal. It considers both the business and the technical needs of a customer to provide a quality solution to meet the needs of users to avoid or minimize adverse unintended consequences.

Types of System Engineering

The main four types of system engineering are as follows

  • Product system,
  • Service system,
  • Enterprise system and
  • System of systems.

Basic principles

The five principles are :

  • Principles govern the process,
  • Seek alternative systems perspectives,
  • Understand the enterprise context,
  • Integrate systems engineering and project management and
  • Invest in the early stages of the project.

Basic factors in system engineering

System engineering includes all hardware, software, equipment, facilities, personnel, processes, and procedures needed for this purpose, it requires producing system-level results. This may result in system-level qualities, properties, characteristics, functions, behavior, and performance. It works for government agencies, computer companies, and many industries to solve large and complex engineering problems. Large research projects by the government, industry, or universities employ a team of scientists and engineers including system engineers.

Graphical Representation

A graphical representation relates the various subsystems or parts of a system through functions, data, or interfaces. Any or each of the above methods is used in an industry based on its requirements. For instance, the N2 chart may be used where interfaces between systems are important. Part of the design phase is to create structural and behavioral models of the system. Once the requirements are understood, it is now the responsibility of a systems engineer to refine them and to determine, along with other engineers, the best technology for a job.

Starting with a trade study, systems engineering encourages the use of weighted choices to determine the best option. A decision matrix, or Pugh method, is one way (QFD is another) to make this choice while considering all criteria that are important. The trade study in turn informs the design, which again affects graphic representations of the system (without changing the requirements). In an SE process, this stage represents the iterative step that is carried out until a feasible solution is found. Decision matrixes are often constructed using techniques such as statistical analysis, reliability analysis, feedback control, and optimization.

Working procedure

The Systems Engineering Process is essentially an application of systems analysis to the design and procurement of hardware to accomplish the specific ends to be an effective tool for management and consistently implemented. It involves the top-down development of a system’s functional and physical requirements from a basic set of mission objectives. The main purpose is to organize the information and knowledge to manage and direct and control the system’s planning, development, and operation to accomplish the mission. The physical requirements lead to specific hardware components to perform the identified functions and that includes a consideration of alternative system configurations. Thus, the design and procurement, as well as validation of the system, would be based on traceable requirements. Furthermore, this system includes a set of documented interfaces to ensure compatibility between different parts.

The reader is provided with definitions of many terms used in this system. Traceability imposes conditions on the physical and functional requirements to be traceable through the entire systems engineering process and the system’s full life cycle. System verification is a two-step process to assure the system design captures the full set of system requirements to implement the design. It provides value to the development, management, and implementation of a large program by ensuring the system through top-down development of functions and requirements.

Advantages of system engineering

  • Invalid Assumptions,
  • Managing real-world-changing issues,
  • Achieving the most efficient, economic, and robust solution to the problem.
  • Always demand skilled and talented software engineers.

Disadvantages of System Engineering

  • Coordination of different teams,
  • Testing and evaluation are difficult,
  • Ultimate decommission become more difficult when dealing with large or complex.