Chapter 2The System Engineering Process

The system engineering process is inherent within and throughout the overall system life cycle, as illustrated in Figure 1.13. The emphasis is on a top-down, integrated, life-cycle approach to system design and development, conveyed through the activities identified in blocks 0.1 through 4.6 of the figure. This approach includes an initial definition of the problem (to be solved) and the identification of a consumer need, conductance of a feasibility analysis, development of system operational requirements and the maintenance and support concept, accomplishment of a functional analysis, allocation of requirements, and development of the top-level architecture for a given system. Subsequently, there is the iterative process of assessment and validation, and the incorporation of changes for product/process improvement as required. Although the process is more directed to the early stages of system design and development, consideration of the activities in the latter phases of production/construction, operational utilization, system maintenance and support, and retirement/disposal is essential for understanding the consequences of earlier decisions and the establishment of guidelines and benchmarks for the future. In other words, the feedback loop (as identified in the figure) is critical and is an integral part of the system engineering process.

This chapter addresses the system engineering process and the basic steps (activities) reflected ...

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