Project Management

A Balanced Approach to Systems Engineering Project Management

Ryan Maxwell

A balanced approach to systems engineering project management will help navigate the difficult and seemingly intractable decisions that need to be made. The focus of a project manager should remain on the business needs, with technology and tools as supporting elements because they have limited and identified life spans. Agile principles should be considered for technology selection, product maintenance, and software development.

Systems engineering management can be a complex endeavor, especially in large programs like those often found in the Washington, DC, USA metropolitan area. Specific programs (e.g., building a space shuttle) require a high degree of precision, whereas other projects (e.g., prototyping a new internal Sharepoint site) may be less precise even if the information is just as important to the nation’s interests. Many technical initiatives may have no clear beginning or end; a project may occur in the middle, with the goal of reversing the engineering technical requirements of an existing product in order to assess the cost of producing a more modern replacement. Also, if a modernization effort is undertaken, the legacy product may well remain in operation, running in parallel with the new product, as a “hot backup”

 and with no plans for retirement. So, with all of the variations and complexity in systems engineering, how do …


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"I am not young enough to know everything."

- Oscar Wilde