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Advancing the practice of systems engineering at JPLIn FY 2004, JPL launched an initiative to improve the way it practices systems engineering. The Lab's senior management formed the Systems Engineering Advancement (SEA) Project in order to "significantly advance the practice and organizational capabilities of systems engineering at JPL on flight projects and ground support tasks." The scope of the SEA Project includes the systems engineering work performed in all three dimensions of a program, project, or task: 1. the full life-cycle, i.e., concept through end of operations 2. the full depth, i.e., Program, Project, System, Subsystem, Element (SE Levels 1 to 5) 3. the full technical scope, e.g., the flight, ground and launch systems, avionics, power, propulsion, telecommunications, thermal, etc. The initial focus of their efforts defined the following basic systems engineering functions at JPL: systems architecture, requirements management, interface definition, technical resource management, system design and analysis, system verification and validation, risk management, technical peer reviews, design process management and systems engineering task management, They also developed a list of highly valued personal behaviors of systems engineers, and are working to inculcate those behaviors into members of their systems engineering community. The SEA Project is developing products, services, and training to support managers and practitioners throughout the entire system lifecycle. As these are developed, each one needs to be systematically deployed. Hence, the SEA Project developed a deployment process that includes four aspects: infrastructure and operations, communication and outreach, education and training, and consulting support. In addition, the SEA Project has taken a proactive approach to organizational change management and customer relationship management - both concepts and approaches not usually invoked in an engineering environment. This paper'3 describes JPL's approach to advancing the practice of systems engineering at the Lab. It describes the general approach used and how they addressed the three key aspects of change: people, process and technology. It highlights a list of highly valued personal behaviors of systems engineers, discusses the various products, services and training that were developed, describes the deployment approach used, and concludes with several lessons learned.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Jansma, Patti A.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Jones, Ross M.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
March 4, 2006
Publication Information
ISBN: 0-7803-9546
Subject Category
Systems Analysis And Operations Research
Report/Patent Number
IEEE Paper 1031, Version 6
Meeting Information
Meeting: IEEE Aerospace Conference
Location: Big Sky, MT
Country: United States
Start Date: March 4, 2006
End Date: March 11, 2006
Sponsors: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Distribution Limits
process improvement
systems engineering
change management

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