June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Engineering Leadership Development Division
26.356.1 - 26.356.12
Collaboration Across Linked Disciplines: Skills and Roles for Integrating Systems Engineering and Program ManagementAbstractIn new product development programs, systems engineers and program managers must oftenwork together closely to define the product, the program structure and objectives, and allocateand define the focus of work effort. Poor communication and lack of integration between thesetwo critical functions can often spell the difference between success and disappointment for theprogram and its stakeholders. Despite common and sometimes overlapping skills required forboth disciplines, and their respective extensive practice and process models, effective integrationand collaboration continues to elude many engineering efforts. Unfortunately, this failure ofcollaboration and integration negatively impacts program performance and outcomes.This study draws upon two large global surveys of program managers and systems engineers tobetter understand the backgrounds, training, roles, and responsibilities of program managers andsystems engineers. The analysis of the data identifies systems engineering and programmanagement capabilities that are considered critical to program success, as well as those areaswhere both roles share key responsibilities. The analysis further explores what organizations aredoing to effectively address integrated practices, processes and staff development to deliverimproved program results. This includes using standards from both domains in an integratedfashion, developing formal definitions of and targets for the integration of the two functions,developing integrated engineering program assessments, and effectively sharing responsibilityfor risk management, quality, lifecycle planning and external suppliers between the twofunctions. These practices are found to be key enablers to engineering program success, but arenot typically part of formal engineering education curricula, nor explicitly part of professionalstandards. The implications of these findings for engineering students and for their engineeringcurricula will be discussed. For systems engineering students and future engineering leaders, thishaving learned these principles and concepts may be critical to them as they prepare to enter ahighly competitive workforce.
Rebentisch, E. S., & Townsend, S., & Conforto, E. C. (2015, June), Collaboration Across Linked Disciplines: Skills and Roles for Integrating Systems Engineering and Program Management Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23695
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