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Best Paper Awards from the 2005 International Symposium

Each year, INCOSE's technical team recognizes the best papers of the symposium. The following are abstracts from the six award winners from 2005. The complete text of each of these papers can be found on the symposium proceedings CD.

Four Strategies for Reliability - Improving Robustness to One-sided Failure Modes
Paper 3.2.2 by Don Clausing and Daniel Frey
Reliability is one of the most important characteristics of a system. To be reliable a system must be robust – it must avoid failure modes even in the presence of the broad range of noise factors such as harsh environments, changing operational demands, and internal deterioration. In this paper we focus attention on “one-sided” failure modes, which occur only on one side of a range of noises. Four effective strategies are presented for achieving improved robustness to one-sided failure modes by conceptual improvements. Each strategy is illustrated through two examples from industrial practice.

Towards a Structure for Systems Engineering Research
Paper 6.1.1 by Timothy Ferris, Stephen Cook, and Eric Honour
This paper discusses the need for the development of a framework for Systems Engineering to facilitate recognition of Systems Engineering as a discipline and to provide a fundamental basis for advancing the practice of Systems Engineering. Systems Engineering concerns the development of systems that satisfy the real needs of those who call for the systems to be created. Such systems are not tangible things that can be analyzed as objects to be inspected and described, but rather these systems interact with their users and stakeholders in a complex manner, where the introduction of the system perturbs the pre- existent situation, resulting in a need for sophisticated methodologies to analyze and predict outcomes of system creation and deployment. The paper exposes and discusses a range of research methodologies that are appropriate for contributing to the development of a coherent framework of research in Systems Engineering.

Some Really Useful Principles: A New Look at the Scope and Boundaries of Systems Engineering
Paper 6.3.2 by Hillary Sillitto
In the search for a description of systems engineering that is precise and suitable for use outside the traditional defence/aerospace domains, this paper examines three emerging or “rediscovered” systems engineering concepts. These are the “generic reference model”, the “system value cycle”, and the notion of systems engineering as the management of emergent properties. They are shown to be useful in tackling some “classic problems” in systems engineering for which the standard definitions give little guidance. The problems include agreeing on the system boundary, understanding what is a “good” system, making the business case for systems engineering, and applying systems engineering outside the requirements driven context common in the defence industry. The place for innovation in the engineering of successful systems is illustrated with reference to successful and well-documented World War 2 era platform systems. The paper seeks to identify definitions and principles that clearly distinguish “systems engineering” from other disciplines and are robust enough to be useable and relevant in both academia and industry, and to enhance the business case for systems engineering.

The strategic choices discussed in the paper can be clarified by organising them into a three-layer
framework of “principles”, “practices” and “information structures”.

Improving VVT Process in SysTest Project: Evaluating Results of Pilot Projects in Six Industries
Paper 8.1.2 by Markus Hoppe and Avner Engel
Many companies experience extensive product rework and failure cost due to ineffective Verification, Validation, and Testing (VVT). Therefore, there is a great potential benefit in streamlining and optimizing the VVT process. To that end, a consortium of eight European companies, research institutes, and organizations conducted the SysTest project. The stated aim of SysTest was to “…decrease product development cost and time to market by 10%”. SysTest intended to achieve this aim by developing a generic methodology and process model to support the process of systems’ VVT. This paper describes the results of using the SysTest products in six industrial pilot projects. The diverse pilot projects have shown that the SysTest products are applicable in different industries. Specifically, each project was able to use most components of the SysTest methodology and process model and the pilot projects conducted by the industrial partners exhibited an average of nearly 8% project cost reduction with standard deviation of about 15%.

Measuring the Lifecycle Value of a System
Paper 10.4.1 by Tyson Browning and Eric Honour
The goal of systems development is to produce enduringly valuable systems—i.e., systems that are valuable when delivered to their users and which continue to be attractive to their stakeholders over time. However, quantifying the lifecycle value (LCV) provided by a system has proven elusive. We propose an approach to quantifying a system’s LCV based on the key parameters that have perceived value to the system’s stakeholders. For this, we draw upon insights from the management, marketing, product development, value engineering, and systems engineering literature. By designing systems for maximum LCV, systems architects and engineers will provide dramatically increased value to their organizations. However, to provide maximum LCV, a system may need to be designed to facilitate adaptability to changing circumstances and stakeholder preferences.

Requirements Statements Are Transfer Functions: An Insight from Model-Based Systems Engineering
Paper 11.2.1 by William Schindel
Traditional systems engineering pays attention to careful composition of prose requirements statements. Even so, prose appears less than what is needed to advance the art of systems engineering into a theoretically-based engineering discipline comparable to Electrical, Mechanical, or Chemical Engineering. Ask three people to read a set of prose requirements statements, and a universal experience is that there will be three different impressions of their meaning. The rise of Model-Based Systems Engineering might suggest the demise of prose requirements, but we argue otherwise. This paper shows how prose requirements can be productively embedded in and a valued formal part of requirements models. This leads to the practice-impacting insight that requirements statements can be non-linear extensions of linear transfer functions, shows how their ambiguity can be further reduced using ordinary language, how their completeness or overlap more easily audited, and how they can be “understood” more completely by engineering tools.

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