Questions and Answers for a System Engineering Tutorial

Composition, 2017

10 Pages

Free online reading

1. Argue for or against application of systems engineering in the following SoI:

Design of a House Kettle

- Design projects typically require the systems-level cooperation of experts from several engineering disciplines, a house kettle design may not be classified under complex systems because systems engineering cope with complex systems; thus system engineering cannot be applied in this SoI.

Design of a Nuclear Power Station

- It appears to be more difficult for inexperienced systems to control the costs of a nuclear project unless they buy a standard nuclear unit from an experienced supplier, which means little participation of the local manufacturing and engineering capacity.

2 . Discuss the difference between engineered complex systems and complex systems that are not engineered. Give two examples of both. Can systems engineering be applied to non-engineered complex systems?

- A natural system made by nature is a non-engineered complex systems.

Examples: human body system or any living made by nature; whereas an engineered complex systems is a system made by engineers, seeks to produce and to obtain systems capable of adaptation and change. Example: bridges and airports, power station.

A systems engineering can be applied to non-engineered complex systems:

For instance: Interaction (subsystems of the human body interact with each other and the elements of those systems with each other).

3. List four pros and cons (two each) of incorporating some of the latest technology into the development of new complex system. Give a specific example for each?

- Pros: 1. Increase in capabilities of the prevailing ones. For example: The military aircrafts that have been invented for the first time are only capable of flying at a height of 20 feet above the ground and are not as speed as the current one.

2. Increase in the automation technology. For example: The automobiles which are made handmade initially, gradually evolved to a place where the products are now fully machine made with the human interaction so that the products are cost efficient, led to mass production and reduced the human labor.

- Cons: 1. without the broad knowledge of the technology and approaching the system may result in difficulties that lead to product execution failure. For example: The Bhopal gas tragedy in India; there are speculations that it is due to the use of technology without the prior knowledge on operating it.

4. What is the difference between systems engineering and industrial engineering?

- Systems engineering is an approach focuses on the design and addressing problems by intervention aimed at the whole; whereas industrial engineering is a branch of engineering that focus on making processes better, optimization; thus making processes more efficient.


a. What is a complex system?

- A complex system is a system that can be analyzed into many components having relatively many relations among them, so that the behavior of each component depends on the behavior of others.

b. Characteristics of a complex systems:

- 1. Self-organisation: Complex adaptive systems operate without central control. However, they are often characterised by a certain order; they organise themselves from the bottom-up.

2. Limited predictability: the behaviour of complex systems cannot be predicted well; small changes in initial conditions or history can lead to very different dynamics over time.

3. non-linearity: Complex systems show non-linear dynamics; that means that they may suddenly change behaviour or move to another regime; from a high degree of stability to very unstable behaviour.

c. 2 examples of complex systems: - the human brain

- Earth’s global climate

6. The context diagram of a Toll Gate on N3 between Johannesburg and Durban – Tugela Plaza.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- The context diagram shows the system under consideration as a single high-level process and then shows the relationship that the system has with other external entities.


a) Outline the 11 Technical Processes inherent in any systems engineering effort.

- 11 Technical Processes:

1. Stakeholder requirements Definition Process
2. Requirements Analysis Process
3. Architectural Design Process
4. Implementation Process
5. Integration Process
6. Verification Process
7. Transition Process
8. Validation Process
9. Operation Process
10. Maintenance Process
11. Disposal Process

b) The purpose of the Stakeholder Requirements Definition and Requirements Analysis processes

- Stakeholder Requirements Definition: The purpose of this process is to elicit, negotiate, document, and maintain stakeholders’ requirements for the system of interest within a defined environment. This process govern the system’s development and provides the basis for the technical description of the deliverables in an agreement.
- Requirements Analysis Process: The purpose of this process is to review, assess, prioritize and balance all stakeholder and derived requirements (including constraints); and to transform those requirements into a functional and technical view of a system description capable of meeting the stakeholders’ needs.

8. Draw the conceptual framework outlining the Principle Stages (or Phases) of the Systems Engineering Generic Life cycle as presented in the lecture notes. Show the three broad stages and the requisite inputs and outputs.

- S.E Generic Life cycle (3 broad stages & inputs and outputs)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


a) What is the purpose of the Concept Development phase?

- The purpose of the concept development phase is: to validate the need and capability to meet requirements, explore the potential systems concepts / options, select the best option defining its functional characteristics and detailed plan for the next steps.
b) Outline with a conceptual framework the key phases of this Principal stage

- Concept Development phases are : Needs Analysis, Concept exploration and Concept Definition

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


a) The two inputs for the Need Analysis are:

- Operational Deficiencies

Example: Evidence of an ineffective entity risk assessment process, such as management’s failure to identify a risk of material misstatement that the auditor would expect the entity’s risk assessment process to have identified.

- Technological Opportunities

Example: 3D printing would allow for digital blueprints of virtually any material product to be sent instantly to another person to be produced on the spot, making purchasing a product online almost instantaneous.

b) In Needs Validation, what is meant MOP and MOE

- 1. MOP ( Measure of Performance): It is a quantitative metric of a system’s characteristics or performance of a particular attribute or subsystem; expressed as speed, payload, range, time-on-station, frequency, or other distinctly quantifiable performance features within a system; measures that characterize attributes of the system under operational conditions.

- Example: Drone nominal speed 44 feet / second ; within MOP table :

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

- 2. MOE (Measure of Effectiveness): It is a qualitative or quantitative metric of a system’s overall performance that indicates the degree to which it achieves its objectives under specified conditions; measure designed to correspond to accomplishment of mission objectives and achievement of desired results.

- Example : Time to survey one square mile of for cattle; measurement method :

- factors – data link data rate (effective) 700 Kbits/second

- Measurement conditions & methods ( Imagery will be downlinked as 1,920×1,080 images JPEG compressed at 30:1 - 1.6 second download per image, operating in 3840 x 2160 image mode, 6.3 second download )

- Drone will fly at an elevation of 400 feet (122 meters) above ground (why – FAA regulations)

- Drone speed 44 feet/second (13.4 meters/second) – time to fly 1000 m is 75 seconds

- Camera will point straight down (camera will be set to 45 degrees wide x 25 degrees long) foot print ~332 feet x 180 feet. (~101m x 55 m)

- Overlap between passes will be 10% (~ 10 m) (11 passes will cover the 1 km x 1 km area).


a) How do you define systems Integration?

- Systems Integration: is the assembly of component elements into one system, and ensuring that all elements function together as a coherent system. Is also a process whereby a cohesive system is created from components that were not specifically designed to work together.

Thus the objective is to ensure that elements are integrated into the system and that the system is fully integrated into the wider environment.

b) Why is systems integration in important in the engineering of a SoI?

- Why is systems integration important in the engineering of a SoI?

Systems integration confirms that all boundaries between system elements have been correctly identified and described, including physical, logical, and human-system interfaces; and confirms that all functional, performance, and design requirements and constraints are satisfied within a SoI.

12. What is the difference between Verification and Validation? Outline the differences in a table format.

Table 1 Difference between Verification and Validation

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a) What is the main purpose of Checkland’s 7 – Step SSM (Soft Systems Methodology)?

Purpose of Checkland’s 7 – Step SSM:

- Is to use and apply systems ideas developed within hard systems thinking in “soft” situations; to apply Systems Engineering approaches to solve “management/business problems”. In other words the 7 step SSM attempt to deal with high levels of complex, unstructured problems and try to establish and structure a debate concerning actions for improving the problem situation.

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b) Outline the referred to 7-Step of Checkland

- Step 1 : Problem situation : unstructured

Step 2: Problem situation: Expressed

Step 3: Root definitions of relevant systems

Step 4: Developing Conceptual models: formal system concepts and other systems thinking

Step 5: Comparison of step 4 and 2 (Comparison models with the real world)

Step 6: Feasible and desirable changes

Step 7: Action to improve the problematic situation

c) What is the purpose of step 3

- Step 3 (Root definitions of relevant systems) : to define important elements of relevant system, captures insight into the situation and gain understanding of the concept of different perspectives that are possible to arrive at the different desirable choices.

d) When analysing the bigger systems that impact the perennial strike season common in the manufacturing sector in South Africa and one of the relevant systems is Cosatu as a SoI, outline the Root Definition of this system.

- Root definition of COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions): A system to improve material conditions of the members and of the working people as a whole, organise the unorganised, ensure worker participation in the struggle for peace and democracy Principles.


C-Customers: working people (workers in the factories, mines, shops, farms and other workplaces).

A-Actors: workers, COSATU's leadership.

P-Performance: worker-controlled and international trade union movement strongly built and united.

E-Environment: regional trade policies, International Policy Framework.

T-Transformation: improve material conditions of the members and of the working people.

O-Owners: COSATU Central Executive Committee, National Congress, Cosatu General Secretary.

W-Weltanschauung: unify national industrial trade unions under COSATU's leadership, solidarity with all oppressed workers in Africa and the world. “An injury to one is an injury to all”.

N-Nature of the System: Human-made, open system.


a) The importance of the:


- The WBS defines a Skeleton or Framework on which the project is developed ,describes all of the tasks in terms of goods and services to be accomplished in the project in a hierarchal structure and defines the whole system to be developed, produced, tested, deployed and supported, including hardware-software services and data.


- The SEMP addresses the overall systems engineering management approach and provides unique insight into: how the systems interfaces are to be managed, the responsibilities and authorities of the active participants, outline the Systems Hierarchy, the high-level WBS and major milestones.

b) Outline any four (4) common methods of dealing with identified program risks in Complex projects.

1 Intensified technical and management reviews of the engineering process,
2 Special oversight of designated component engineering,
3 Special analysis and testing of critical design items,
4 Rapid prototyping and test feedback.

10 of 10 pages


Questions and Answers for a System Engineering Tutorial
University of the Witwatersrand
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questions, answers, system, engineering, tutorial
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Roland Nathan Kalonji (Author), 2017, Questions and Answers for a System Engineering Tutorial, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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