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Engineering Assignment: Question On Systems Science


Question 1:

  1. Explain what is meant by the term “system”. How do subsystems, systems and systems of systems differ?
  2. Has the Australian government adopted a system engineering approach in its management of COVID-19?

Question 2:

  1. Consider the conceptual design case study. What additional information would you expect to be included in the actual project documents generated by the project team?
  2. Safety critical recalls on cars being particularly newsworthy. Such recall of products sues to safety concerns are costly to the organisation responsible and may damage reputation and consumer confidence. In terms of the Acquisition phase activities and artifacts, what caused such errors to occur? What strategies do you think that they could have taken to prevent these sorts of errors?

Question 3:

  1. Explain the difference between agile development and agility.
  2. Explain how agility can be incorporated into engineered products/systems.

Question 4:

  1. Explain how a Requirements Breakdown Structure (RBS) is typically constructed. What information does it contain?
  2. Discuss the process whereby requirements in the RBS are allocated to the physical architecture.

Question 5:

  1. Explain, using an example of your choosing, how TPMs constrain the evolving design process as we progress from conceptual design through to preliminary design and detailed design and development.
  2. Discuss the relationship between project management and systems engineering.


System is a collection of components or smaller parts that are organized and compiled together for meeting a specific reason or purpose. The system can be defined as an organization as well where the activities in an organization could be referred as its components and collectively, the components can form the entire system.

Sub-system, system, and system of systems are considered as part of systems as a unit where, the system is mainly the core part of the others. The system being the primary part containing all the relevant components for supporting the entire system; these components are considered as sub-system. Sometimes, the sub-systems can be considered as operating environment in which the system can maintain its workflow and resource usage. The sub-systems can handle the resource allocation, management, workflow based operations, and maintaining a standard environment for the system to work. On the other hand, System of Systems is considered as collection of dedicated systems that can work together to reach a common goal in the end. The system of systems can maintain individual resource pool for sharing resources as per demand along with offering suitable functionality for handling overall performance of the system.

The Australian Government released COVIDSafe app for Australian region based people identification those are exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). This app helps the people for receiving suitable support and convenient protection from pandemic spread; this app can be a part of communication tool around friends and family. This app is mainly developed for reducing the pandemic spread around the community and this app supports finding people who were in close proximity with infected patients. This app is voluntary and it can protect Australians with quick measures taken into consideration to prevent the virus spread.

This COVIDSafe app mainly serves two purposes that are;

  1. To identify people who were in close contact with infected patients
  2. To identify the people and store their contact details

Findings close contact people based on this app, can provide alert to other Australians; who can maintain safe distance between them or away from these identified people. This app uses faster and accurate detection process to support lesser infection cases. When one person is tested as positive for COVID-19; he or she should upload usage log along with contact details in the COVIDSafe data store; then the territory health officials would contact the “close proximity” persons to take proper safety measures; however, the infected persons’ identity and actual location would not be shared.

The conceptual design case study for Moggill Rd. / Coonan St. intersection upgrade project clearly shows the entire map view of the intersection. It properly mentions about new bridge structure, new landscaping, new footpath, new bike lane, and new traffic island construction requirements. The conceptual design should include the planning phases of the project; these phases should include detailed discussion of the project activities. The design includes project features that is clearly mentioned as the project outcomes; whereas, the project works need more clarity about planning. The projects’ conceptual design includes community feedback as well; where, the benefits are mentioned that can be achieved based on this intersection upgrade.

However, this work can hamper normal transportation schedule of the commuters; therefore, the conceptual plan should include a risk assessment of the project to reduce the risks. The risk management should be a significant part of the conceptual plan as the design process can avoid the risks from the beginning to address safe construction planning. The conceptual plan is reported to the authority for approval where, the authority can visualize the risks before the project even initialized; therefore, the authority would be able to determine whether the project can meet its planned value while dealing with certain risks and concerns.

The errors mentioned here could be avoided based on contingency planning over risk management. The contingency planning should address the significant role of backup or additional resource management. The contingency planning should include some additional time, cost infusion, and planning in-place; so that in case of such failure concern arises, this contingency plan can act as a failsafe. The contingency planning should address the risk assessment and analysis so that the safety critical recalls on cars can be practiced; the safety consideration should be managed with policy enforcement. The safety guideline and policy following can not only help with handling additional cost requirement or expenditure incurring; but this safety policy can handle the community reputation towards the project. The project can surpass a significant loss from handling the safe construction practice in the planning. The safety guidance should be reported to the stakeholders during the group of stakeholders are communicated; the safety guideline would be used as a practice to avoid unfortunate incidents in site and avoid unplanned operational costs.

The Agility is considered as a capability for responding to change; the organizations or group of stakeholders when lack to respond towards change management are considered as struggling to compete and perform change management into practice. The lack of agility can be considered as a significant issue to business management and losing agility from teamwork can result into lack of success. The significant market share can branch out leading towards lacking credibility for customers and losing reputation from the users as well. The lack of agility can be a reason to downtrodden the business objectives and initiatives. Business agility is considered as handling change management and responding customer demands, balancing with market conditions, and new technology incorporation to the development practices.

On the contrary, agile is considered as collection of tools and techniques that can help with agility achievement or project accomplishment. Agile development is a collective process of different development activities including a strict guideline of tasks and systematic phases. The agile development supports agility as this development practice can achieve the end goal without deviating from its course regardless of changes and incorporation of requirement modifications. Agile development is entirely planned based on supporting agility to its fullest to accompany successful project completion.

In order to achieve agility in engineered products or systems, the agile method of project management is suitable. The agility feature of products or systems is considered when it can be developed without facing adverse impacts of time, cost, and quality due to changes incorporated to them. In major cases of software engineering, the client can introduce new requirements or changes in existing requirements during development phase, design phase or in implementation phase as well. The agility feature of developers can be determined based on whether these change management factors can be incorporated successfully in the end product or not.

Agile development follows an iterative approach of development along with planning and carrying out the project processes. The entire development phases are segmented under separate sections and these sections are known as iterations. The iterative approach can be useful for incorporating agility as it support rapid development practices, reduction of waste based on optimal usage of resources, more adaptive and flexible to changes, faster turnaround time, lighter framework, and optimization in development practices. Agility in change management requires faster collaboration, feedback based workflow, better focus on customer requirements, faster resolution of issues, and version defects. Agile development can address them with help of iterative process and sprint-based activities scheduling.

Requirements Breakdown Structure (RBS) is considered as requirement management activity; where, RBS focuses on project workflow, and this structure gives a clear understanding about project development requirements and separate ways to develop the requirements. The Requirements Management is considered as planning, collaborating with other stakeholders to communicate together so that project requirements can be finalized from all stakeholders’ perspectives. The Requirements Management phase is conducted throughout the project management timeline, and this phase is a factor to accomplish project successfully.

The RBS is prepared following the phase of establishing all the project requirements and this structure is typically prepared as a tree with hierarchical requirement structuring. The RBS structure can be considered as a plan of entire project activities required over the period of development and releasing a successful product version. The RBS starts with considering project’s primary objectives or vision on first node; this node branches out all the sub-requirements along with smaller requirements populating from these sub-requirements. RBS nodes and intermediate dependency between these nodes are determined based on priority and systematic workflow. RBS can be used to figure out the activities or project tasks that are should be followed in systematic order of workflow.

RBS or Requirements Breakdown Structure is important for stating the project requirements and for planning activities. The requirement analysis can be structured in a tree format hence, the project manager can follow them to prepare timeline, project scheduling, figuring out the tasks, and activities. The RBS can be used for preparing WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) as well. The design process incorporates the RBS into actual development process or stage. The design process is initiated based on requirement analysis and RBS development. The design process, entire project scheduling and activities’ determination is made based on RBS structure. Therefore, RBS is considered as part of planning phase or requirement elicitation and assessment phase. The design process can be segmented under different phases as conceptual designing, preliminary designing, and detailed design finalization. Moreover, these design phases can be directed based on requirement changes or modifications. For instance, conceptual or preliminary design can be finalized based on requirement management changes or modifications.

In any typical System Engineering instance, TPMs constrain different responsibilities in design process improvement throughout different design management phases. Apart from handling all aspects of technical project management, the TPMs can influence the design processes along with different design phases. Here, the phase-based examples are provided with TPMs’ influence over design process.

Conceptual Design Phase is mainly conducted from perspectives of system designers and analysts. The conceptual design process identifies System Development Requirements and performs assessment of these requirements to design their feasibility. For instance, for a Library Management System design, the Data Flow Diagram, Entity Relationship Diagram, UML Class Diagram, and others. TPMs are responsible for supervising the design process and address modifications to support System Development Requirements.

Preliminary Design Phase include TPMs to make important design decisions; the TPMs can research the system development problems and provide relevant insights regarding system documentation, design improvement, and implicating design decisions. The TPMs can rely on customer usage data and make important design decisions depending on customer usage to improve direction of the product.

Detailed Design and Development Phase include TPMs to collaborate with product managers and UX/UI designers in order to identify and solve problems from real-world customers’ perspective. This collaboration can help with identifying business opportunities from studying customer problems as well.

The Project Management Role and System Engineer Role is to some extent is different from each other and overlap in some contexts of project as well. Therefore, the relationship between Project Management and System Engineering is interconnected for accomplishing a project to reach its closure. The System Engineer in a project bears the responsibility of assessing risks and planning for risk avoidance; so that they can deliver the technical outcomes of the project. On the other hand, the Project Managers are responsible for entire activities of the project from initiation stage to closing stage; hence, at some phases, the System Engineer and Project Manager share responsibilities and activities. However, in some examples of project, depending on the project activities; these two roles either can overlap or not.

For considering Software Engineering projects, the responsibilities of Project Manager and System Engineer are bound to overlap, as both of these personnel should be aware about software design and system engineering activities. Sometimes, single personnel or single group of stakeholders can perform both roles in this project management example. For example of construction projects, the System Engineering or design activities are considered as primary part of the project and the project starts after finalization of the design and feasibility report. Hence, in this project management instance, these two roles are not likely to overlap with each other.

Khaldi, M. and Erradi, M., 2020. Design and Development of an e-Learning Project Management System: Modelling and Prototyping. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 15(19), pp.95-106.

Wu, M., Li, J., Zhu, J., Wu, Y. and Yan, L., 2020, April. Design and implementation of ship engineering project management system. In 2020 International Conference on Urban Engineering and Management Science (ICUEMS) (pp. 318-321). IEEE.

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