1st Edition

Engineering Mega-Systems
The Challenge of Systems Engineering in the Information Age

ISBN 9781420076660
Published July 15, 2010 by Auerbach Publications
254 Pages 49 B/W Illustrations

USD $115.00

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Book Description

With their ability to cross traditional boundaries and achieve a level of functionality greater than their component elements, mega-systems have helped corporations and government organizations around the world resolve complex challenges that they otherwise couldn’t address with stand-alone systems. Engineering Mega-Systems: The Challenge of Systems Engineering in the Information Age provides a clear understanding of the engineering of this class of systems—a process that demands consideration of increasing program scale and the rapid change of underlying technologies.

Written by Renee Stevens, a Senior Principal Engineer at The MITRE Corporation with decades of experience analyzing, engineering, and acquiring large-scale systems for the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies, this book explains how the engineering of mega-systems is inherently different from that of large-scale monolithic systems. It supplies the vocabulary and framework needed to explore the issues relevant to mega-systems. This framework then evolves into the Profiler diagnostic tool that helps you understand the nature and context of the system at hand and, on that basis, select the most appropriate processes, tools, and techniques.

Stevens examines commercial and government applications of mega-systems to provide insight into the contemporary challenges of engineering these systems in three critical dimensions: engineering processes, management processes, and the larger context in which these systems are developed and deployed. Complete with two case studies in engineering mega-systems that illustrate valuable lessons learned and highlight emerging practices, this book supplies the understanding and the tools needed to begin engineering, characterizing, and acquiring mega-systems across multiple dimensions.

Table of Contents

List of Acronyms

The Trend Toward Large-Scale, Richly Interconnected Systems
Why This Book?
Organization of the Book

Context and Trends
Changing the Strategic Environment in the U.S. Department of Defense
The Imperative to Share Information across Agencies
Enabling Conditions
Institutional Trends: Enterprisewide, Top-Down Perspective
Implications for Systems and Programs
A Look Ahead


Mega-System Concepts
What Is a System?

A Framework for Exploring Mega-Systems
Basis for the Framework
Elements of the Basic Framework
Tame versus Wicked Problems

Engineering and Acquiring Mega-Systems
What Is Systems Engineering?
Mega-System Challenges for Systems Engineers
Troubled Large-Scale Systems
Levels of Systems Engineering
Enterprise Systems Engineering Profiler


Introduction to Mega-System Case Studies
A Note about Case Studies
Approach to Mega-System Case Studies

Single Integrated Air Picture
Motivation: Moving from Independent Systems to a Theater-Wide Integrated Capability
Standing up a System Engineering Organization
SIAP System Engineering Process
Building the IABM
Formalizing the SIAP
SIAP Mapping to the Systems Engineering Profiler
Insights for Engineering Mega-Systems

Developing the Electronic Product Code Network
The Auto-ID Center
The Vision: An Internet of Things
Concept and Technologies
RFID Design Process and Implementation
Transition from Research to Commercialization
EPC Adoption
EPCglobal Network Mapping to the Extended Framework
Insights for Engineering Mega-Systems

Observations from the Case Studies
Case Study Recap


The Way Ahead
Emerging Tenets
Matching Practice to Circumstances
An Emerging View of Systems Engineering as a Continuum of Practice
Refining the Engineering Tenets: A Way Ahead
An Emerging View of Next-Generation Practice
Concluding Thoughts

Multiple Purposes of the Study
The Profile as an "Uncertainty Map"
Recommended Practices for Dealing with Uncertainty

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Renee G. Stevens is a Senior Principal Engineer at The MITRE Corporation. She has 30 years of experience in the analysis, engineering, and acquisition of large-scale systems for the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies. Her current interests lie in research and practice contributing to the development of an enterprise systems engineering discipline.

Stevens has developed the well-received Profiler tool for use in characterizing the environment and context in which a system will be developed and will operate. It serves as both a diagnostic tool and the basis for a situational model. Results have been widely briefed to government, academic, and professional audiences. She is applying the model to the assessment of several large-scale programs and is conducting research on innovative strategies and practices to improve the acquisition of information technology systems.

Stevens received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Hunter College, City University of New York, in 1966, and a master’s degree in public and business administration from George Washington University in 1981. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Academy of Management.