Monday, June 1, 2015

INCOSE SFBAC Recognized as Silver Circle Chapter

Musings on Systems Engineering Balancing

Effective systems engineering is a great balancing act – balancing competing stakeholder needs and concerns, balancing technical possibilities and risks, balancing trade-offs between speed of development and exhaustive attention to minute details.  Themes of balance can be found in diverse places in human endeavors; for example:

  • Steven Covey writes about the need to balance attention to the urgent with attention to the important in managing your own time
  • Work-life balance is an issue for many professionals with demanding jobs
  •  Balancing short-term consequences with long-term implications is often a challenge, especially since in so many areas of life and work incentives are focused on short term outcomes

So what contributions can a systems engineer make to improve the ability to balance of their organization and the projects they are assigned to support?  I believe the first, and perhaps most important, contribution a systems engineer can make is by noticing and bringing to the attention of others when choices involve the need for balance.  When we frame a choice in terms of the different interests and concerns which will be affected, decision-makers can consciously choose a course that will provide a balance.  The table below shows a few of the areas where balancing can be helpful, along with some thoughts on the value systems engineers can add.

Balance This
With That
SE Potential Value Add
Communicating technical detail
Communicating the “so what” – insights into what it means to different stakeholders, and what choices they may have as a result
Clarifying needs of different stakeholders for information; providing a bridge between detail and its implications for stakeholders
Optimizing for immediate needs
Providing flexibility to handle future needs
Identifying possible directions in which needs may change in the future; identifying choices in system architecture and design which can increase system flexibility (especially at no or low cost)
Customer-defined requirements
Innovation-based development ”build it and customers will come”)
Providing insight into what difference changes in requirements could make; using agile approaches to get capabilities into the hands of users more quickly
Using readily available technology
Innovating to create new technology
Prototyping systems and products using readily available technology to allow users to gain experience with them, so the economic payoff for investing in new technology becomes much clearer
Quick and low-cost system development
System robustness for supportability over the long term
Advocating agile system architectures, so changes in a system can be made with lower cost and less risk

So the next time that you stop to consider how you can add more value to your organization in your capacity as a systems engineer, think about balance.  How might you be able to help others see the choices they are making in terms of improving the balance between different concerns?

Dorothy McKinney

Outline of INCOSE Website Updates

1. INCOSE International has recently switched to their *new* Site:

a) Check-Out the New INCOSE Format at

b) As indicated in a previous eMail from INCOSE to Active INCOSE Members;

c) to Log-In as a Member, you will *first* have to select Forgot Password.

d) You (INCOSE Members) will be asked for your "Login ID/E-mail Address:".

f) Enter your "FirstName.LastName" as used in your <> eMail address.

g) Your new Temp Password (PWD) will be sent to the Forwarding eMail you previously selected.

h) When you then Log-In, as a Member to the *new* INCOSE site, you should update your PWD.

2. Step Two, after updating your PWD, is to *confirm* SF Bay Area is your self-selected Chapter.

a) Many Members, who receive our eMails, do *not* show us as their Chapter.

b) Selecting us will help us keep you informed of your upcoming Membership Renewal, and

c) also provide you additional/expanded access to INCOSE's & our Web Site (see below).

d) If you are Renewing, from an Expired Status, select SF Bay Area during-that-session.

3. SF Bay Area Chapter's Web Site (previously found at

a) Is now located at during the "Transition".

b) Use this Revised Site Location to keep up-to-date on Chapter Activities for now.

c) Cut-Over to our New Chapter Web & CONNECT Sites is expected to be May 29th.

d) Our New Sites will have a Look-&-Feel that is similar to the New International ones.

4. New INCOSE Web Site Permission Levels.

a) A major addition to the New Sites is the addition of the Following Access Levels:

  • Public (non-Member),
  • INCOSE (International/General) Member, &
  • INCOSE Chapter Member.

b) In order for these to work as indented, Please Select SF Bay Area as your Chapter.

5. Working Groups will be known as Committees under the New Web Site System.

a) For now they will still be be called Working Groups (WG's).

b) The new system, being used as the host, *may* refer to WG's as Committees.

c) After selecting SF Bay Area as your Chapter, you may wish to check your WG Selections.

6. We will keep you updated as New Site "features" are added.

Submitted by <>, as the new SF Bay Area WebMaster.

<> continues to be WebMaster of

Contact SF-Bay-Area Board Members Bill Sanders, or <>

for assistance with your <@incose.Org> eMail address to Log-In or Re-Register.
By William Sanders

Upcoming Membership Meetings: June

The INCOSE SFBAC will have their June 8, 2015 Membership Meetings at San Jose State University. Laurie Buss will present "Group Flow: the Genesis of Innovation." Laurie is the Founder of C-Suite Creative and an Advisor, Program Management and Systems Engineering for Stellar Solutions.
July 13 - July 16, 2015 the 25th Annual International Symposium will be held in Seattle, WA.