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The Business Case for Systems Engineering

This collection describes our research in the field of systems engineering (SE).

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

The documents in this collection describe our research in the field of systems engineering (SE).

While the SEI has long been engaged in many areas of SE, our research in SE Effectiveness began in 2005 in response to a query from the Director of Systems and Software Engineering in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, who was seeking quantitative data on the value of SE.  He posed this query to the SE Division of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), who formed the SE Effectiveness Committee to form a response.  The NDIA formed a collaboration with the SEI to research the question.

Initial research led to a survey conducted in 2006, with findings published in 2007, and more detailed information published in 2008.  This survey showed a clear and consistent relationship between the deployment of good SE practices and improved project performance, as measured by satisfaction of project budget, schedule, and technical requirements.

In 2010, the SEI set out to expand the research by surveying a larger sample.  For this survey, we teamed with NDIA and the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society to survey system development projects worldwide.  The results of this research are published in the reports listed below.

Work continues on expanding our understanding of the value of SE.  Current research is focusing on understanding differences in SE effectiveness between defense-domain projects and non-defense projects, with the goal of identifying effective practices that can be transplanted between the domains.

In addition to the documents listed below, we have also published the following blog posts on SE effectiveness:

The Business Case for Systems Engineering Study: Results of the Systems Engineering Effectiveness Survey

November 2012

This report summarizes the results of a survey that had the goal of quantifying the connection between the application of systems engineering (SE) best practices to projects and programs and the performance of those projects and programs.

The Business Case for Systems Engineering Study: Detailed Response Data

November 2012

This report contains response data from The Business Case for Systems Engineering Study: Results of the Systems Engineering Effectiveness Survey (CMU/SEI-2012-SR-009). Analysis revealed strong relationships between project performance and best practices.

The Business Case for Systems Engineering Study: Assessing Project Performance from Sparse Data

December 2012

This report describes the data collection and analysis process used to support the assessment of project performance for the systems engineering (SE) effectiveness study.

The Business Case for Systems Engineering: Comparison of Defense Domain and Non-defense Projects

June 2014

This report analyzes differences in systems-engineering activities for defense and non-defense projects and finds differences in both deployment and effectiveness.

Quantifying the Effectiveness of Systems Engineering

October 2014

This Metrocon Conference presentation summarizes the results of a survey to quantify the connection between systems engineering best practices and performance outcomes.

The Business Case for Systems Engineering: Comparison of Defense-Domain and Non-Defense Projects

October 2014

This NDIA Systems Engineering Conference presentation summarizes analysis of data collected from the 2011 Systems Engineering (SE) Effectiveness Survey.

An Appraisal of Systems Engineering: Defense v. Non-Defense

August 2014

In this podcast, Joseph P. Elm analyzes differences in systems-engineering activities for defense and non-defense projects and finds differences in both deployment and effectiveness.

The Business Case for Systems Engineering

May 2013

Joe Elm discusses the results of a recent technical report, which establishes clear links between the application of systems engineering (SE) best practices to projects and programs and the performance of those projects and programs.