Thursday, April 12, 2012

Systems Engineering and Management - Smith and Rowland

Book Information, Review and Summary
It has to be appreciated that the design of a large physical system is a massive undertaking. The problem is undoubtedly beyond the capabilities of any one engineer and will require for its solution the skills and capabilities of many different people drawn from many different fields.

Book



Systems Engineering and Management

Authors
David B. Smith and George Rowland
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company Ltd.
Reading, Massachusetts.
1974
153 pages



Contents


Chapter 1 General System Concepts

Chapter 2 The Chronological View of Systems Engineering

Chapter 3 The Process of Systems Engineering

Chapter 4 Human Factors Aspects of Systems Development

Chapter 5 Systems Management

Epilogue

References




General Systems Concepts - Some Important Points



Definition of a System

A regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole.


A definition given by Hall and Fagen (1956)

" A system is a set of objects together with the relationship between the objects and between their attributes. "

Definition of David B. Smith

" A system is a collection of functional units which may include both man and machines, which interact with each other and with the environment to perform purposeful behavior."



Systems Engineering - Views

In this book the following aspects of systems engineering are explored.

1. The chronological phases of systems design
2. The logical steps of systems design.
3. The man-machine interface of systems design.
4. The management of systems design.

The authors have explicitly stated they have not covered the mathematical tools of systems design.

It has to be appreciated that the design of a large physical system is a massive undertaking. The problem is undoubtedly beyond the capabilities of any one engineer and will require for its solution the skills and capabilities of many different people drawn from many different fields.

The Compleat Systems Engineer

He requires technical skills. He must have the capability of assimilating ideas and concepts in one field and translating them to another. He must also be familiar with administrative and marketing matters. He must be a persuasive advocate. Most systems involve large financial costs and require agreement of many decision makers. He must be able to communicate with them in the language they understand.

The systems engineers cannot be expected to be familiar with all fields. But they should be able to communicate with the experts and to make informed decisions based on their inputs to them.




The Chronological View of Systems Engineering

This chapter examines how complex engineering systems come into being.

1. Useful output from scientific research.
2. "Needs" research
3. Exploratory studies that establish the feasibility of developing a system
4. Definition of system
5. Engineering Design
6. Personnel subsystem design
7. System integration plan
8. System integration design
9. Equipment evaluation and test
10. Prototype system, test and evaluation
11. Hardware acquisition
12. Final test and evaluation



The Process of Systems Engineering


1. Problem definition
2. Environmental constraints
    Physical environment
    Science and technology environment
    Economic environment
    Legal, social and political environment
    Contiguous systems environment
    Ambient and transitional environment
3. Selection criteria

Primary
    Utility
    Cost
    Timeliness
    Competitive factors

Secondary
    Quality
    Reliability
    Compatibility
    Adaptability
    Permanence
    Simplicity
    Safety
4. Synthesis stage
5. System analysis stage
6. Evaluation



Human Factors Aspects of Systems Development

1. Comprehensive job and task descriptions of personal requirements
2. Equipment redesign or confirmation
3. Job and task redesign or confirmation
4. Training redesign or confirmation
5. Personal training support

Redesign or confirmation is an interesting usage of the terms. It identifies that the designer at the previous stage has done the design related to human factor also to a large extent. Hence the specialist human factors or human effort man is to first evaluate it. If he feels design is adequate he can confirm the design that was given to him. Only if need is there, he has to redesign.



The Management of Systems Design

The managerial process involves:

Establish objectives
Allocate resources
Communicate plans and programs
Monitor results


Managerial Control Systems - PERT and CPM

If the system design process has number of activities and hence events or milestones, PERT and CPM techniques can be used for planning and controlling system design process. The data required has to be estimated for each of the activities of events by the persons associated with those activities. These invidual activity estimates can be coordindated at the systems management office to come out with time lines for integrating various activities.



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Original knol - Number 1228

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