Manage the complexity of your product development using aspects of systems engineering

Collecting and properly managing all infomation during the draft stage of product development can often be a challenge. Issues such as access to the latest version, communication amongst those involved or centralized or non-centralized information lead to annoyance and time loss or even additional costs and longer lead time. The approach of systems engineering offers answers to these issues.

Systems engineering is a term that has been in use since the 1940s. Its origins lie in the world of one-off, complex, expensive (government) projects such as defence, space and aviation because it was felt that it was impossible to achieve such complex systems without a timely and systematic approach that was within budget and with the desired quality.

You can read more about the objectives and the principles of systems engineering and the reasons why companies invest in this, on Techniline (in Dutch/French).

How do you start with it?

Together with you we can identify potential points of improvement and equip you with the tools for this purpose. Here are some examples:

Do you already involve all stakeholders at the beginning of your project?
Stakeholder maps can help you identify them.

Are you lacking a way of clearly and structurally identifying the requirements for your project?
Our template structure, template system description and checklists will help you get started. Moreover, by systematically using this structure, everyone quickly finds information and can also retrieve it from previous projects.

Do you need a way of setting up mission profiles as input for your reliability analyses?
The mission profile of each subsystem can easily be derived from such structured requirements.

Would visual representations improve communication in your team or with your stakeholders?
We will show you some simple diagrams for the purpose of visualising the structure and behaviour of your system or its environment. As we know, a picture speaks a thousand words. Here too, standardization of the diagrams allows for a clear interpretation of projects.

How do you verify that all requirements have been included in the design?
Are N2 diagrams able to help, are you going for a full QFD, or do you even have an ALM or PLM system that allows you to make relationships between a requirement and the elements in your (conceptual) model derived from this?

How do you compare alternative concepts with each other and with what‘s on the market?
You can use the Pugh matrix for a qualitative comparison but we are also able to propose a quantitative approach.
Before you start comparing, you can initially use various methods for prioritising the requirements, such as AHP, cumulative voting, grouping, ranking or combinations of these methods.

Some of these tools will be presented in subsequent articles.

On 1 June, a webinar is also taking place about this topic as part of the Inprovol project.  

Help us to better help you and complete our questionnaire

In order to gain better understanding of which issues are most in need, we have prepared a questionnaire. Will you help us? (And thus also yourself!) Then be sure to complete this questionnaire (in Dutch)!

Would you like more information or assistance in applying this approach? Then please contact us.

 (Cartoon above: DILBERT © 1997 Scott Adams. Used By permission of Andrews McMeel Syndication. All rights reserved)