V may be the favorite letter of systems engineers. V&V (verification and validation) is the fundamental manner by which we confirm that we have delivered the right capability in the right way to address the business need. As we consider the alphabet, T may be our second favorite letter as it is often used to characterize the preferred “shape” of a systems engineer – someone with the required depth in one area and breadth across the technical and management domains necessary to successfully deliver a system.
In transforming our practices through model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and seeking to transform the greater enterprise through digital engineering, V and T become even more important. First, we must understand our heritage – the Vee diagram providing an idealized representation of how we progress through the engineering lifecycle. However, there is far more than one V in the Vee diagram. There is the V as commonly (mis)understood, the V as intended by Forsberg and Mooz, the V as executed in classical design, and the V as realized through traditional integration and test. Understanding those four Vs, we can look to the power of digital transformation and appreciate how the application of MBSE and digital engineering can transform the V and the greater engineering lifecycle to better meet 21st century needs.
But systems engineering is not done by process, method, or tool. Systems engineering is dependent upon the human, and that brings us to the T. First is the T-shaped individual and the competencies necessary to architect and engineer systems. Systems engineering is also dependent upon trust (our second T), a concept of growing importance as we leverage models and adopt MBSE.
What about the third T and the sixth V? They are perhaps the most important of all, and you will have to attend to learn what they are and the critical role they play in our future.
For over 25 years, David Long has focused on helping organizations increase their systems engineering proficiency while simultaneously working to advance the state of the art. David is the founder and president of Vitech, where he leads the team in delivering innovative, industry-leading methods and software (CORE™ and GENESYS™) to help organizations engineer next-generation systems. He co-authored A Primer for Model-Based Systems Engineering and frequently delivers keynotes and tutorials at industry events around the world. A committed member of the systems community and an Expert Systems Engineering Professional (ESEP), David was the 2014-2015 president of INCOSE.
Throughout his career, Long has played a key technical and management role in refining and extending systems engineering to expand the analysis and communication toolkit available to systems practitioners. He continues to lead the Vitech team as it delivers innovative, industry-leading solutions to help organizations develop and deploy next-generation systems. Long has served INCOSE since 1997 including a term as the Washington Metropolitan Area Chapter president and international roles including member board chair, director for communications, and director for strategy. He is a frequent presenter at industry events worldwide delivering keynotes and tutorials spanning introductory systems engineering, the advanced application of MBSE, and the future of systems engineering. In 2006, Long received the prestigious INCOSE Founders Award in recognition of his many contributions to the organization.
Long holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering science and mechanics, as well as a master’s degree in systems engineering from Virginia Tech.