The first half of the year has been encouraging. We continue to have good turnout at the chapter meetings, the transformation caucus is working to define processes and was well received at the International Symposium in Las Vegas, new members are joining, members are finding employment and other members are getting their certification as Systems Engineering Professionals. This past month was a bit rocky with summer vacations and the change in venue, the chapter meeting was not as smooth, but we are working up lessons learned in order to be more adaptable in the future. We are also exploring the option of having satellite locations to be more accessible to our members. If you have any suggestions on what we can do to encourage more of our members attending, please submit them.
It was my honor to accept the Silver Circle award at the International Symposium. The award recognizes the chapter’s efforts to bring value and provide services to our members. There were several members of the chapter who I would like to thank for their contributions. First, I want to acknowledge David Mason who did much of the leg work to submit the evidence of the activities that our chapter engaged in and who also has been the Student Division Coordinator. Gulnara Ghorbanian was our newsletter editor. Scott Workinger is the organizer of the Transformation Caucus. Andrew Tisdale was the program coordinator. When you have the opportunity, please thank them for their volunteer effort.
At the International Symposium, I gave a presentation that was coordinated with George Sawyer on Interfaces for Transformational System Engineering. A point that was made in the presentation is the need to take a broader view of interfaces. It should not be limited to the physical, electrical, and functional flow of information between elements in a system but should also address the organizations and people (developers, users, maintainers, etc) involved in the life cycle of the system. I have been working on conducting a system failure mode and effects analysis of the interfaces between subsystems in the system. One element that I'm finding troublesome is the use of software of unknown provenance (SOUP). The system is safety critical and it is imperative that any failure which could result in hazardous situation be identified and mitigated. Identifying SOUP and understanding its interface/interaction on the system is the first step. Identifying the organization that developed the software can reduce the unknown risk. The level of integration of SOUP in the system is quite complex; from development tools to device drivers. Working through the organization to identify what SOUP is being employed is also challenging. Some of the software is so familiar to the developers that it is not recognized as SOUP and the interfaces with some software is subtle and can be overlooked. Fortunately, the organization and all of the engineers are committed to ensuring that our product is safe and effective; so, there is an open exchange of information and full disclosure. It is an investigation to uncover the software through the design and development documentation, software reviews and interviews with the developers. These are the interpersonal skills that systems engineers need to develop.
If you have any experience with systems failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), particularly with regards to SOUP, I welcome your response to this article.
By Rollie Olson
INCOSE SFBAC President
Rollie Olson's Bio
Rollie Olson's Bio