U.S. Department of Transportation
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This chapter describes what the systems engineering environment needs to support the systems engineering capabilities within the agency. This chapter describes the basic support needs for the systems engineering environment: the development of a documented process, process improvement, training and capacity building, technology re-use, and systems engineering support tools for carrying out the documented process.
Keys to success for ITS projects are management support and an environment that promotes the use of the systems engineering process for developing ITS projects. Well-defined and documented processes, tools, training, and application of technology across agency projects are important to the success of projects. The following elements describe this environment.
The systems engineering environment needed to support successful project development includes the following key elements:
Defined and documented process and process improvement
Documented systems engineering processes must support the organization’s internal goals and objectives. It is recommended that a documented set of systems engineering processes be created. This Guidebook would be a good starting point for those procedures. The use of a common set of processes will benefit ITS, as the established set of processes has for capital projects. Once the systems engineering processes have been developed, they will provide a common framework by which ITS projects are carried out. This will benefit the agency in the utilization of their resources and their ability to efficiently pull together teams for projects. In addition to these processes, a method is needed to assess how well the process is accomplishing its intended purpose. Then, adjust the process continuously to improve its effectiveness. [See process improvement].
Capacity building and training development
Training will benefit an agency in the development of capabilities in key systems engineering topics and should be part of the systems engineering environment. This training includes both in-house and contracted training courses. Training in contracting, project management, systems engineering, configuration management, risk management, and maintaining the regional architecture are some of the basic courses that are recommended for ITS practitioners. Other specialized courses, such as requirements engineering, reverse engineering, modeling and simulation, architecting, and software and hardware design, should be considered for staff that will be focusing in these areas. Since technology is changing, refresher classes in all of these areas are recommended.
Organizations can benefit and optimize the use of technology by being aware of the technologies that are in use throughout the organization. Organizations must assess vendors to ensure their ability to produce quality products that will be supportable, maintainable, and affordable for the projects. Standardization is a way to reuse technology and minimize the risks of new developments.
Systems engineering support
Systems engineering support provides the tools, processes, and training to enable various aspects of systems engineering to be performed. For example, these tools may include: requirements management and modeling tools, test beds, simulators, training, office space, documented processes, software, and test equipment.
An organization should provide for the continuous process improvement to fine tune the processes over time. Initially, an organization will put into place a set of processes and procedures and use a test case project to wring out the steps in the process. Then, it will re-write [or modify] the areas in the processes that are weak or too rigid and costly. The process may be relaxed to fit the real world situation. Over time, this process becomes part of the support environment and is continuously improved with lessons learned on each project