Certification Blog

Certification Overview

What Animal Would Make the Best Systems Engineer?

Feb 03, 2023
Courtney Wright
At INCOSE's International Workshop, there was a separate luncheon for SEPs to gather just with each other. In addition to brief speeches by the chair of the Certification Advisory Group, Dr. Beth Wilson, ESEP, and the Certification Program Manager, Courtney Wright, CSEP, there was a social activity. Attendees were encouraged to list the characteristics that supported one of two statements:

1. Cats make the best systems engineers.
2. Dogs make the best systems engineers.

And, there was a third option for writing in an animal and arguing why it would make the best systems engineer. The honey badger got two separate write-ins, with its sponsors appreciating its willingness to promote an unpopular opinion. 


The arguments in favor of cats being better at Systems Engineering are:
* They are into your and everyone else's business
* Delegation
* They are curious
* Agile and selective
* They don't always listen to the "customer" (make their own decisions)
* They decide everything by themselves
* Climb into boxes (understand context)
* It has multiple lives: 7 lives in England, 8 lives in Japan, 9 lives in US


Suggestions on why dogs are better SE's are:
* It is all people's best friend
* Even if you shout at it, it will still love you
* Easily recognize and accept stakeholders.
* They understand what stakeholders' concern is.
* It is teachable.
* Follows rules ... sometimes.
* It's a connector, eagerly accepting everyone.
* Solves problems in groups and interacts with other "disciplines" (i.e., Humans)
* A dog will poop anywhere
* A dog sees with its nose (holistic worldview)
* Friendly and persuasive
* Willing to admit mistake
* Has lots of energy

Other animals' characteristics are:
* River otter - because he is cluelessly happy
* Tiger - flexible, agile, will go on offense only when needed (will not be a "yes animal" like a dog)
* Honey badger - fearless, capable, outcome-focused
* SEPs - they know what to do because of great training and use best practices
* Honey badger - relentless, nearly impossible to keep in captivity
* Ostrich - keep your head in the sand, it will all sort itself out
* Beaver - they are resourceful, creative, focused, outcome-based
images of ASEP, CSEP, and ESEP badges
Contact Us