Embedding Systems Engineering Into Organizations

Explore the issues involved in implementing Systems Engineering in an “organization” that is associated with engineered products and wants to or could gain value from the application of Systems Engineering.

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Working Group Purpose & Mission


The mission of the working group is to produce guidance for members of INCOSE on how to embed Systems Engineering into an organization.

This will fill a gap in the guidance currently provided to INCOSE which is more focused on how Systems Engineering should be done, and how a professional Systems Engineer develops.  The guidance will recognize the diverse range of domains, systems produced, and organization types (given the wide potential applicability of Systems Engineering).  Therefore there cannot be any single recommended organizational solution. 

The Working group goal is to look at organizations and produce guidance to help ensure that Systems Engineering is done appropriately, in terms of toles, processes, tools and interfaces with other disciplines in order that the value from a systems approach can be realised 

Transformation Enablers

TechOps Domain






Richard Beasley


Jo Vassallo

Sarah Sheard



The scope of the Working Group is guidance on how organizations are set up to do Systems Engineering - not describing how Systems Engineering is done or what Systems Engineering is.  The guidance is aimed at a Systems Engineering advocate looking to ensure their organization can gain the value for Systems Engineering 

The term embed is taken to mean making Systems Engineering part of the way the organization works, and so not be dependent on a particular individual advocate or expert.

The scope covers the full spectrum of organizations - in terms of domain, size, nature of solutions produced by the organization, and the experience in or state of Systems Engineering capability in the organization.  The state of Systems Engineering covers organizations that have never heard of Systems Engineering to those doing it explicitly (and even well) who want to get better. 

Since the scope is about the way the organization works the scope is not limited to just Systems Engineering activities, but must consider how Systems Engineering activities integrate with the rest of the organization - and so the Systems Engineering is a part of the whole, including activities that are often not to be considered engineering activities 

Enterprises are not excluded from the scope - but it was felt organization was a broader term



The goal of the working group is to thoroughly understand the issue of embedding Systems Engineering into an organization.  This will involve exploring

  • the barriers / resistance / problems inherent in introducing and embedding Systems Engineering into either a team or a whole organization
  • the issue around determining the level / style of Systems Engineering (and associated language) appropriate to an organization (in any domain / working culture)
  • the measurement and assessment of the state of Systems Engineering and so the way to identify the next steps to take, and to validate how well it has been embedded
  • the advice on how to to implement the changes (drawing on existing organization change management advice, highlighting what most relevant given the specific resistance / difficulties with Systems Engineering

So the goal of the working group is to fill a gap in guidance INCOSE provides to Systems Engineers.  Most of the current material is aimed at the specifics of "Systems Engineering",  The goal of this working group is to provide advice and guidance so a Systems Engineering advocate / capability owner can achieve the right / most appropriate environment in the organization so the value of Systems Engineering can be realized 


    The outcomes of the Working group are still to be finalised, but the intent is to produce a series of guides (so there is useful product produced throughout the WG activity) associated with the issues of embedding Systems Engineering - culminating in a major deliverable of a guide (including potential tools and models) to allow a Systems Engineer assess, determine and embed the most appropriate Systems Engineering capability in their organization

    The first output will be a report describing the problems associated with embedding Systems Engineering.  This will be useful to help any Systems Engineer advocate to recognise the issues that may apply to them

    The currently planned work topics are

    1) Defining the problem - both my embedding Systems Engineering matters, and the specific problems embedding Systems Engineering

    2) An (initial) survey of organizations - to see the range of issues and solution approaches existing organizations are taking

    3) Literature survey - to inform all the rest of WG activity of relevant existing material

    4) Modelling pattern for Systems Engineering in an organization

    5) Solution description - how to over come the problems,, typical organization / SE options, how to chose the appropriate Systems Engineering approach for a specific organization, and how to run the embedding journey

    6) Measures of Systems Engineering - to guide both how well embedded it is, and how to choose next improvement

    7) Detailed "go look see" case study investigations

    8) A complete guide to embedding, pulling all the material together into a guide - hopefully a combination of description, model and tool to help the Systems Engineering advocate embed Systems Engineering effectively into their organization.  

    The first three are currently active

IW24: International Workshop launches the WG

At IW 24 the first "formal" meetings of the WG were held - confirming there was interest and debating the scope and activities needed

Prior to that there had been a strategy session in July 2022 looking at the issues associated with Systems Engineering, and a session at IW 23 looking at what work any other working groups are doing (or have done) in this area.  There is a lot going on and this WG will have to interface and liaise carefully with others

Since IW24 there have been a series of virtual meetings - initially finalising the scope and defining the work topics - and then starting on the first three. 

Watch this space for progress reports

Planned Activities

in 2024 planned activities are

  • work topics
    1. Defining the problems with embedding Systems Engineering
    2. Initial survey of organizations - how have they embedded Systems Engineering - what went well / badly
    3. Literature survey - existing work related to the topic
  • management / communication of the Working group
    • Regular monthly meetings integrating the work topics and coordination / planning further work (including integration with other Working Groups) 

Planned Work Products

The Working Group is still in its early days, so the plans for product are still immature

The first planned product (data TBS, but hopefully in 2024) will be a description of problem themes / issues associated with Embedding Systems Engineering into organizations. 

  • This will be a detailed report as a Technical product, which will be summarized for a new article in Section 5 of the SEBoK 

other interim products (and a final integrated guide) will follow, but their nature and the timing are not yet defined 


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