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A better world through a systems approach

INCOSE Systems Exchange Café - Oak Tree Café


The next Oak Tree café is on Wednesday 17th February, at 8am UK time, 9 am Eurpoe, 1.30pm India, 7 Pm in Sydney; click below to register.

The meeting topic is the obstacles to implementing Systems Engineering into organisations and projects.  Please read the short summary (from the hosts perspective) and some suggestions of pre-reading – the references quotes are (IS papers / journal free to INCOSE members, SEBoK free to all.

Typical obstacles

•Systems Engineering is not (universally) taught / known
•It is difficult to describe SE (multiple definitions)
•Value of SE not understood –
•“saving money that isn’t planned to be spent by preventing rework”
•Worry about “too much” process (inflexibility)
•Over-emphasizing process versus delivered value
•Apply fixed approach, rather than adapting to problem type (cf cynefin) and SE capability in the organisation
•Inappropriate dependency on tools / methods
•Too much doing SE for sake of SE, not increasing probability of success of the project
•Systems Thinking / Holistic vs “natural” reductionism
•Individual filters and natural tendency for “silos” and resultant sub-optimisation
•Natural dislike of uncertainty (which is first outcome of SE) –
•asking questions expecting the answer “yes”
•Desire for “progress” and to get to detail / problems
Difficulty changing the whole organisation 
  1. Beasley, R. 2017 “Realising the Value of Systems Engineering”  INCOSE IS2017
  2. Beasley, R. 2012 “The Barriers to Systems Thinking” INCOSE IS2012
  3. Beasley, R. & O’Neil, A. 2016 “Selling Systems Engineering by Searching for the ‘Sweet Spot’”  INCOSE IS2016
  4. Dunford, C. N., Yearworth, M., York, D. M. and Godfrey, P. (2013), “A view of Systems Practice: Enabling quality in design.” Syst. Engin.,16: 134–151. http://dx.doi/10.1002/sys.21220

And see SEBoK part 5 – Organising to do Systems Engineering -

Please come with your own examples of obstacles, and ideally your successes in overcoming them, and any other references

Hopefully this will be an interesting, and optimistic (successes, not just description of how hard implementing SE is) session

The topics for future meetings will be defined by the attendees at the café, so please bring your suggestions and requests.

Register for Oak Tree Cafe