There is no denying the rapid growth of the complex systems that continuously emerge in the world around us. Technological advancements spawn system after system, each increasing in interdependence on other systems that have come before. Systems, if ever they were separated are vigorously moving towards interconnectedness (Arnold & Wade, 2015). As systems continue to grow in scale and complexity, system integration (SI) has become a key concern (Madni & Sievers, 2014). (ISO 15288 Committee, 2015) states that the purpose of integration is: “to synthesize a set of system elements into a realized system (product or service) that satisfies system requirements, architecture, and design”. Moreover, SI involves interfacing and enabling the interactions of component elements to collectively provide the functionality needed by the system to accomplish its goals. SI increases in complexity when there are legacy systems that need to be integrated, and when humans are an integral part of the system (Madni & Sievers, 2014). All of which is the case for the railway operating network.
This post reviews ISO/IEC/IEEE/DIS 21840 Systems and software engineering – Guidelines for the utilization of ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288 (NEN-ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, 2015) in the context of System of Systems (SoS) engineering. A draft of this document is circulated for comments and approval. The document is therefore yet subject to change and might not yet be referred to as an international standard until published as such. While (NEN-ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, 2015) applies to systems (including constituent systems), this document provides guidance on the application of these processes to SoS. The scope of the (draft) standard is the same as (NEN-ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, 2015), which establishes a common framework of process descriptions for describing the life cycle of systems created by humans. It defines a set of processes and associated terminology from an engineering viewpoint. These processes can be applied at any level in the hierarchy of a system’s structure. Selected sets of these processes can be applied throughout the life cycle for managing and performing the stages of a system’s life cycle. This is accomplished through the involvement of all stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of achieving customer satisfaction, hence addresses more than system engineering activities. In addition it explores the similarities and differences between systems and SoS and, by extension, the similarities and differences between engineering of systems and SoS.
I am Merishna Ramtahalsing, and as per March the 1st 2019 I commenced with my PhD at the university of Twente in Enschede. Together with my colleagues, I will be working on the SIRA Project (System Integration for Railways Advancement) and will mainly be focusing on the system definition and overview. A proper system definition, a clear vision for the goals and a simple interface for describing the rail transport are key to communication, shared understanding, and collaboration. Therefore, system definition and overview are among principal needs for cooperation. This will include going beyond technical definition of the system and its process, learning from the project management practices, and learning from studies on human behaviour as individuals, groups, or organisations.