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The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers by Devanandham Henry, Nicole Hutchison, Arthur Pyster

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6PROFICIENCY PROFILES

When I get a systems engineer, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be getting.

– Anonymous Helix program manager participant

Chapter 4 explained the proficiencies that systems engineers need to perform their jobs well. This chapter presents a method to visualize how strong someone is in each proficiency – a PROFICIENCY PROFILE – or just PROFILE, for short. We begin with three fundamental truths:

  • Virtually no one excels in all proficiencies.
  • Depending on the roles being played, strength in some proficiencies is more important than strength in others.
  • Often, it is a team of systems engineers who collectively possess the necessary proficiency strength to complete a task, not a single individual.

These truths drive the importance of PROFILES and several distinct uses for them:

  1. Personal PROFILE. Created for an individual systems engineer, it can be used as a self‐assessment tool to better understand personal strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Validated PROFILE. Managers or peers can validate a personal PROFILE. The validated version can be a basis for career counseling and guidance, helping a systems engineer seek the best education, training, and mentoring to support current and future roles and positions.
  3. Screening PROFILE. A candidate applying for a position can complete a profile, which can then be used as a screening tool for a discussion during interviews.
  4. Exemplar PROFILE. Leaders at any level, charged with growing some portion of the systems engineering ...

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