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Systems Engineering Testimonials

Timothy Fehon

Timothy Fehon, Bachelor of Engineering, University of Sydney, Australia
Senior ITS Engineer
DKS Associates
Oakland, CA

I have nine years experience in managing software development and system integration in the transportation and financial sectors.  The majority of these are mission critical, real-time systems requiring 24/7 operation. My experience includes project management of complex system infrastructure and software projects with a focus on scope management, requirement development, configuration management, and cost management.

How long have you been using systems engineering on your ITS projects?

DKS has been using systems engineering techniques to guide ITS projects since the mid 1990’s.  We incorporate INCOSE and FHWA guidelines into our work scopes.

I have been using the formal Systems Engineering methodology since 2008, when I entered the ITS field. 

Did you encounter any challenges in earlier ITS projects that a more formalized use of systems engineering would have minimized or avoided?

Yes.  In the past, many clients have had a technology solution in mind before their operating concept has been fully developed into a set of detailed requirements.  A more formalized system engineering approach would have avoided some design changes that occurred when they realized the selected technology could not provide the performance they require.

How has systems engineering helped you and your organization?

Adopting the System Engineering approach has allowed us to maintain a tight control of the system design process by providing us a framework for documenting and communicating all aspects of the project in a logical and systematic way.  This process has helped us ensure that by the time that systems are starting to be developed everybody on the team understands what the system will achieve, how the system will achieve it and what everybody’s role will be in the Operation and Maintenance of the system.

What aspect of systems engineering have you found to be most helpful?

The process of systematically breaking down the project is the most useful aspect.  It is very easy to decide on a solution well before you completely understand the fundamental problem or project objective.  This formal approach gives us a framework that ensures the project team slows down and understands the problem before deciding upon a solution.  This way we have a much better chance of designing the correct solution for the project, rather than a familiar solution that does not necessarily accommodate all local requirements.

How have you benefited from use of the Systems Engineering Guidebook website?

I am constantly accessing the Systems Engineering guidebook website.  It is one of my most visited sites.  The depth of explanation and examples located on the website is invaluable.  The structure of the website is fantastic.  It is a very easy site to navigate.  It is particularly useful as a means of explaining to clients the reason why they need to do each step in the process.

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