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INCOSE Invests in International Systems Engineering Standards

by INCOSE UMS | Jan 01, 2008

The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is the premier society of practitioners and researchers in the discipline of systems engineering (SE). “By placing the focus on systems and systems thinking, it is possible to avoid false starts, myopic decision-making and disappointed customers,” according to Ken Crowder.
INCOSE provides systems engineering expertise to the international standards organization, ISO, through its liaison status with the software and systems subcommittee of the joint technical committee on information technologies (JTC1/SC7). ISO/IEC 15288: 2002, The Systems Engineering – Systems Life Cycle Processes – Standard, is the first international standard to include Systems Engineering in its title. Today, five INCOSE volunteers are serving on as many working groups, helping to integrate systems engineering concepts. Ken Crowder supports the Life Cycle for VSEs (WG24). He is joined by Mike Krueger who supports the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (WG20); Bud Lawson, Architecture Management (SWG5); Dick Kitterman, Life Cycle Management (WG7); and, Jerry Fisher, Process Assessment (WG10).
“Systems Engineering is a way of thinking that makes valuable contributions to all the Working Groups,” according to Ken Crowder. “The SE process/principles apply to every domain from teaching, medicine and transportation, to planning your annual vacation.”
Ken describes his contributions to WG24: a VSE is a Very Small Enterprise, generally defined as having less than 50 employees. While a small size is often associated with agility, there are also disadvantages in limited access to affordable, expert advice. This working group is focusing on software development in environments with very scarce resources and virtually no outsourcing. The goal is to winnow ISO/IEC 15288 to a subset of essential elements that must be done, regardless of project or enterprise size. The resulting standard is intended to help VSEs jump start their projects and avoid costly waste and rework.
INCOSE began proactively supporting member volunteers working within the standards writing communities in 1995, and has had a liaison member in SC7 since 1997. Jerry Lake and Robert Halligan served in this capacity in prior years. Although INCOSE is a non-voting member – only representatives from national bodies can vote – our liaison members have made increasing contributions. INCOSE has been approached to provide liaison members to two additional working groups to provide expertise on tool development and integration. “INCOSE is recognized as the premier international SE organizational contributor to the SC7,” reports James Martin, Chair of the INCOSE Standards Technical Committee.
The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is an international professional society for systems engineers. INCOSE ( was founded in 1990 to develop, and disseminate the interdisciplinary principles and practices that enable the realization of successful systems. Today there are over 5,000 members, 50 chartered chapters, and more than 50 Corporate Advisory Board organizations from government, industry, and academia worldwide.