Competency Working Group

Improving the practice of Systems Engineering through development and adoption of competency management approaches

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Competency Working Group Purpose & Mission


The aim of the INCOSE Competency Working Group is to improve the practice of Systems Engineering through further development and adoption of competency management approaches.


Analytic Enablers

TechOps Domain






Clifford Whitcomb


Lori Zipes



The following is considered in scope for the Competency WG.

  • Develop practical solutions for practicing systems engineers and organizations
  • Create of a tailorable competency basis for development of systems approaches to systems engineering
  • Include as diverse a membership as possible - we all learn from each other
  • Collaborate with other WG/organizationsDetermination of competency fit with other functions (PM/Finance, etc.)
  • Produce papers (Collaborative WG papers/Individual)
  • Conduct global competency model refinement based on the INCOSE SECF and SECAG (2023)
  • Develop and publish use cases to generate roles
  • Use currently available works (papers, books, frameworks, BKCASE, etc.) as inputs
  • Develop competencies in soft skills (cognitive, affective, behavioral)
  • Define PM/SE competency intersections
  • Maintain INCOSE web-based and social media presence


The specific goal(s) for the Competency WG include:

1. Evolve to a globally accepted and marketed standard competency framework and assessment guide, tailorable to the needs of the customer organizations.

  • Evolve INCOSE SE Competency Framework and SE Competency Assessment Guide
  • Make CWG products available to INCOSE members
  • Foster industry-academia research projects in the area of better understanding systems engineering competency
  • Establish and maintain competencies for professional and soft skills especially as they relate directly to the practice of systems engineering
  • Establish clear and agreed upon understanding of how SE and PM competencies relate
  • Provide a competency element structure to support education and training providers
  • Collaborate on joint and individual paper and article contributions on competency subjects
  • Provide products/services of business benefit to INCOSE (positive revenue)
  • Create products that are both meaningful and sensible to engineering and related professional practitioners who are not primarily systems engineers

2. Create a globally accepted and marketed standard assessment instrument/tool, tailorable to the needs of the customer organizations, once validated, may be used for selection, filtering, and screening of candidates for SE job positions and placing the "right person to the right job". (Stretch goal for future).


  • INCOSE Systems Engineering Competency Framework (available free to INCOSE members in the INCOSE Store)
  • INCOSE Systems Engineering Competency Assessment Guide, Ian Presland, Cliff Whitcomb, Lori Zipes (Eds.), Wiley, 2023 (book available through Wiley and book stores)
  • INCOSE Insight, Volume 25, Issue 3, September 2022, Special Feature: The Unique Abilities of the Systems Engineer, "Using the INCOSE Systems Engineering Competency Framework"

IW24: International Workshop Focus

During IW 2024 we heard briefings from both Boeing and Saab on their efforts to implement the INCOSE Competency Framework and Assessment Guide into their organizations.  There was rich discussion about the value of the Framework and Guide for assessing workforce needs and current capabilities.   We also got a look at the recently completed SysML model of our framework and guide and discussed how to make the model of greatest value to INCOSE members and corporations.  There is notable overlap with INCOSE PDP efforts so we will continue these discussions and plans over the months ahead.  Care has been taken to ensure the model will be able to transition to SysML V2 with minimal issue.

We identified four primary tasks for the coming months:

  1. Verify that the SysML model accurately represents the SECF and SECAG published content.
  2. Look at related competency frameworks such as the SERC DE framework and SFIA, and consider how to incorporate those with our model. 
  3. Determine whether to shift to managing the model as our authoritative source of truth, and how to maintain configuration control of the content.
  4. Determine the need to add content on topics such as MBSE, cybersecurity etc, and how to do so appropriately.

Planned Activities

  • Investigate defining possible updated competency framework and assessment guide architecture using a system model to support future use cases such as integration with specialty areas or creation of value-added implementations in combination with existing organization structures for development of competency derivative artifacts like career development plans, role definitions, and position descriptions
  • Collaborate with PDP team to support ongoing PDP development
  • Collaborate with other WGs to add more "evidence" indicators and encourage them to take some ownership of relevant portions of the SECAG
  • Continue collaboration with Certification team to pursue Competency Based Certification
  • Collaborate with SE Handbook V5 and 15288 update team to ensure alignment
  • Collaborate with the SE Handbook V5 team to develop domain specific versions of the INCOSE SE HB like healthcare or other desired domains
  • Collaborate with Application Domain Specific WG to develop tailored domain specific competency frameworks and assessment guides

Planned Work Products

  • Contribute to PDP support for IS 2023
  • Maintain Wiley and INCOSE SECAG marketing efforts
  • Develop SysML model of the SECF and SECAG
Find out more by visiting the Working Group Yammer community today!


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