This interview was conducted in 2021.
Q1: Describe your current position/role.
After almost 20 years in several industries, David is working as a systems engineering training provider and consultant. He teaches several systems engineering courses, including preparation courses for the INCOSE SEP program and the SE-ZERT program.
Q2: What are one or two of your proudest professional accomplishments?
David does not have a singular moment or project that he is most proud of, but as a coach he feels it is great to see the teams and people have success when they apply a method, he has taught them. David is also proud of the position he held as acting on behalf of the director of flight safety for the Swiss Air Force while working on a project to install new air traffic management systems on six Swiss airfields.
Q3: What is the biggest challenge you face as a Systems Engineer?
David faces two big challenges: the complexity of large systems and communications among the stakeholders. Air Traffic Management systems, for example, are extremely complex. The stakeholders have very different backgrounds and information needs, which means that the communication approach for one group or stakeholder will not work for others. David believes that that the single biggest key to addressing these challenges is a well written Operational Concept Document.
Q4: What advice do you have for individuals starting their career as a Systems Engineer?
David advises that it is very hard to begin a career in Systems Engineering. He also recommends listening to more experienced people, continue to practice Systems Engineering, and never losing the curiosity to find one’s own way. Also, he cautions new Systems Engineers to resist the temptation to use the tools or code too early and not to implement something before understanding the whole problem.
Q5: How do you continue to learn about SE? What professional development activities do you do?
David is the Lead Co-Editor of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 and has been INCOSE’s Technical Director in 2019 and 2021. He participates in symposiums and workshops and will be at the INCOSE International Workshop next year.
Q6: What are the next career goals you want to achieve?
As a freelancer, David is very happy. It makes David very happy when he helps customers improve and expand the Systems Engineering knowledge in their organization.
Q7: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
David enjoys competing in triathlons. He also did a German Iron Man before his children were born.
Q8: Are there any other final comments you would like to make?
David really appreciates the initiatives, interviews, and blogs that INCOSE is doing.