TGCC Chapter Meeting June 2017
Characteristics of Systems Engineering Leaders
As systems become more complex and societal interconnections multiply, the need for systems thinking has increased. In addition, as companies must develop systems more efficiently, at lower costs with compressed schedules, there is an increasing interest in having engineering professionals think more systemically throughout the development cycle. This presentation discusses an empirical study of how to enable systems thinking development to accelerate the development of senior systems engineers. Subsequent related research that expands on the study findings is summarized, and insights from an industrial perspective are provided. In the empirical study conducted primarily in the United States aerospace sector, 205 interviews were conducted in 10 companies to better understand enablers, barriers, and precursors to systems thinking development in engineers. Using interview and survey data, senior systems engineers were studied to better understand how they developed systems thinking. Comparisons were made with two control groups, and proven stellar systems thinkers were also interviewed. The results showed that even though systems thinking definitions diverge, there is consensus on primary mechanisms that enable or obstruct systems thinking development in engineers. These primary mechanisms include experiential learning, specific individual characteristics, and a supporting environment. Subsequent work studied systems thinking development at the team instead of individual level, and another study characterized systems engineering experiential learning in more detail. Informed by an industrial perspective of systems engineering practice and the synthesized research chain, key thoughts are apparent. In particular, the precision of the systems thinking definition is paramount, since findings of a specific context may be limited in generalizability. Since there is a difference between thinking and action, the translation of systems thinking to action cannot be assumed for workforce interventions. Also, as systems thinking interventions are designed, it is important to understand the impact of the level of analysis (sector, enterprise, team, individual) and to synchronize cross-level interventions.
Systems Requirements, Integration, and Risk at Aerojet Rocketdyne
Dr. Heidi Davidz is a Principal Engineer in Systems Engineering (SE) at Aerojet Rocketdyne where she implements modern, model-based SE tooling in support of liquid rocket engine programs. Previous roles included the Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Project Lead, Discipline Lead of Systems Engineering, Chief Process Systems Engineer, and Stennis Space Center Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Manager. While working as a Test Operations Engineer, she was certified as a Test Conductor to run hot-fire rocket engine tests. Prior to AR, she worked at The Aerospace Corporation in the Systems Architecture, Engineering and Cost Department where she provided support for NASA Headquarters and National Security Space projects. She completed her Ph.D. in the Engineering Systems Division (ESD) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with sponsorship from the Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI) where her dissertation addressed accelerating the development of senior systems engineers. Prior to her doctoral studies, Dr. Davidz worked at GE Aircraft Engines as a member of the Edison Engineering Development Program. Through the GE Advanced Courses in Engineering and the University of Cincinnati, she earned an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. She holds OMG Certified Systems Modeling Professional (OCSMP) certifications at the Model User and Model Builder Fundamental levels. Dr. Davidz is a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).