Annex 4 - compilation of approaches
Systems engineering has its origins in the 1930s and was conceived in response to the growing complexity of engineered products and their associated systems. It is a discipline that concentrates on the design and application of the whole (system) as distinct from the parts. It involves looking at a problem in its entirety, taking into account all the facets and all the variables and relating the social to the technical aspect.
Systems engineering is an iterative process of top-down synthesis, development, and operation of a real-world system that satisfies, in a near optimal manner, the full range of requirements for the system. It is an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on defining customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, documenting requirements, and then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation while considering the complete problem: operations, cost and schedule, performance, training and support, test, manufacturing and disposal.
The INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook defines the discipline and practice of systems engineering for novice and practising professionals. It provides an authoritative reference to understand the discipline in terms of content and practice.