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Symposia Paper Guidelines

Detailed manuscript instructions and the corresponding paper template are available from the annual symposium site. Symposium papers should be between eight and fifteen pages in length, including illustrations, appendices, and biography.

The symposium paper template conforms to the instructions it contains. It is recommended that authors download the template and write within the template (rather than trying to reformat your manuscript). The document is set up with the correct page set up (letter size, 8 ½” x 11”) and use of standard True-type fonts. The document also contains a set of styles that should be used to control the presentation of the document.

Paper Evaluation Criteria
To help authors write high quality papers that will be well received by symposium participants, INCOSE has established the following criteria and guidelines.

Presented concepts should be usable, advance SE knowledge, have supporting information sufficient to enable an end user to assess the efficacy of a stated position, and be sufficiently complete to understand the products use and applicability.

Content advances the knowledgebase for, or the practice of, systems engineering

This Product Evaluation Criteria can be summarized as "Does this product provide usable information or insight to enable INCOSE to improve its application of systems engineering?"

This may consist of:

  • process development or evolution
  • insights into the application of existing or new processes
  • domain specific applications of generic systems engineering principles, concepts, processes, or methods
  • the gathering and synthesis of documentation which enables an expanded view or different insight into existing applications of systems engineering
  • methods of analysis or modeling of an initial or expanded set of acquirer requirements
  • techniques for applying existing systems engineering concepts – templates, management insights, automation of specific systems engineering tasks or processes
  • enhanced understanding of existing principles, concepts, techniques, etc concerning systems engineering
  • practicable experience and insights into the selection, implementation, and use of systems engineering tools (as opposed to thinly disguised advertisements or campaigns for a specific toolset)
  • insights and techniques for applying new systems engineering related standards to a project
  • research or recorded observations which indicate the need for new processes, techniques, or understandings in the application of systems engineering
  • specific techniques for measuring performance of a project against the published technical plan, requirements, and schedule
  • specific techniques for assessing the efficacy of an existing, modified, or new systems engineering process using capability maturity or assessment models
  • breakthroughs in obtaining executive management support and understanding of the need to apply systems engineering principles (and how these breakthroughs were achieved)

Content is substantive

This Product Evaluation Criteria element stresses the substance of the case presented; i.e., of having enough detail to provide value.

Typically, substantive products would provide answers to the following types of questions –

  • What are the specific methods used to effectively accomplish the product purpose - a sharing on the specifics of 'how' rather than just 'what'?
  • How is the product addressing challenges such as commonality; increasing the use of COTS; working globally, etc.?
  • What are the predictors for success - e.g., can we predict the goodness of architecture during the concept/design phases?
  • How do we apply systems engineering principles to the product and practices across both commercial and government enterprises, and how can the practices and lessons learned from BOTH enterprise views improve the SE product under review?
  • How does Systems Engineering need to evolve to accommodate the types of systems and ways of working for the next decade?
  • How are we educating System Engineers?
  • How are we maintaining technical vitality of the SE workforce?
  • What constitutes an innovation in systems engineering practices?
  • Can we share the case studies relating to the application of systems engineering – how we did things, how things worked out; what we would do differently on the next project?
  • What are the Working Groups of INCOSE investigating, what solutions or lessons have been agreed to, and are they usable for the product under review?
  • What are the significant achievements captured in this product?

A substantive product on tools use would provide insight into how to adapt a given tool to a specific process or project need, or specifics on how to use the tool to reduce the time required for validation of acquirer, rather than extol its virtues or appeal. Or such a product might explain in depth the criteria and specific tasks an organization followed in accomplishing an in-house assessment of the adequacy of its processes. Such a product provides insight that enables you to understand the "why" behind the knowledge or the "how" of implementing the imparted knowledge.

Content is logical

Such a product will present its case according to the principles of logic or correct reasoning; i.e.:

  • Does each argument of position follow a prior set of facts?
  • Are conclusions consistent with the defined premises, or is a leap of faith required?
  • When a reading of the product is complete, do you understand how the product was organized?

Content assertions are backed by supporting data

Assertions, conclusions, positions on issues presented, etc. are backed up with supporting data. The product should not simply state an assertion without providing suitable rationale, references and documented results or events.

For example, a product should not simply state that a new process reduced time to market by 85%. Instead, it might state that this reduction was achieved by executive management electing to apply the "six sigma" team concepts and supporting that decision with effective team training from external specialists, providing the necessary resources to select and execute projects, and selecting leaders known for their vision and completion skills

Content is effectively conveyed and key concepts are integrated

An excellent product will enable the reader to easily comprehend the intent and conclusions after one reading, exhibits clarity of purpose, to understand its progression from one point to another to its conclusion, and to be able to visualize the "whole" as well as the individual pieces (and their interrelationships) that make up the whole.

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Content Owner: Events Committee | Last Updated: 18 Oct 2005
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