Web Pages

Guide to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK)

Systems Philosophy

The Quality Portal

Mental Model Musings and SystemsWiki

Systems-Thinkers, by Nic Plum

All Things «Systems»

MITRE Systems Engineering

Worlds of Systems, by Dr. John Boardman and Dr. Brian Sauser

CO SYS MO - Constructive Systems Engineering Cost Model - A cost model for systems engineering by MIT

LAI - Lean Advanced Initiative by MIT - Includes research about lean systems engineering

Systems Thinking in Schools, Waters Foundation

Functional Architectures for Systems


Systems Engineering Handbook
A Guide for System Life Cycle Processes and Activities
January 2011 prepared by: SE Handbook Working Group, International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), 7670 Opportunity Rd, Suite 220 San Diego, CA 92111‐2222
Edited by: Cecilia Haskins, CSEP
This book gives an overview about Systems Engineering from the view point of International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). It describes the object flow of the related processes, following ISO/IEC 15288:2008 standard. If you are new with this book, start reading with sections 2 and 3. Then proceed with section 4.12 or section 9. Unless you are heading for an INCOSE certification, read other sections upon specific needs or questions.
INCOSE member can access a PDF of this SE handbook on protected server INCOSE Connect in the Products & Publication Area, INCOSE login needed.

The version 4 of this handbook (publication expected in summer 2015) will be available via WILEY:

Find a German translation of this INCOSE SE Handbook in the member area of GfSE: (GfSE login needed)

NASA Systems Engineering Handbook
NASA/SP-2007-6105 Rev1
December 2007
ISBN 978-0-16-079747-7
Get the PDF here:

A Journey Through the Systems Landscape
ISBN 978-1-84890-010-3
2010, College Publications
by Harold ‘Bud’ Lawson
The architect of ISO/IEC 15288:2008 standard takes the reader through 8 important aspects of systems engineering and systems thinking. It starts with some thoughts what systems are. He proceeds with systems thinking, modeling and systems situation descriptions considering the frequent appearing loops and recursions in systems. In the architecture section he proposes to use a light weight architecture framework in opposition to the well known huge architecture frameworks of defense and software areas. The journey continuous through change management and life cycle management. Discussion about data, information, knowledge and their interrelation and finally the view on organizations as systems conclude the book. Four interludes present system thinking on real world problems and case studies.
see also

Architecture and Principles of Systems Engineering
ISBN 978-1-4200-7253-2
2009, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
by C.E. Dickerson and D.N. Mavris
This book elaborates the following principles:
Conceptual Integrity and the Role of the Architect — Conceptual integrity is the most important consideration in system design. The architect should be responsible for the conceptual integrity of all aspects of the product perceivable by the user.
The Principle of Definition — One needs both a formal definition of a design, for precision, and a prose definition for comprehensibility.
Model Transformation — Model transformations relate to system design and should preserve the relationships between the parameters being modeled.
Reflection of Structure in the System Design — The solution should reflect the inherent structure of the problem.
Modular Structured Design — Systems should be comprised of modules, each of which is highly cohesive but collectively are loosely coupled.
Structured Analysis — The specification of the problem should be separated from the solution.
see also

Requirements Engineering - From System Goals to UML Models to Software Specifications
ISBN 978-0-470-01270-3
2009, John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
by Axel van Lamsweerde
This is probably one of the first requirements engineering books that considers modeling from requirements engineering with subsequently required model transformations until reaching the appropriate level to define software requirements.
see also

DIFFERENCES That Make a Difference - An Annotated Glossary of Distinctions Important in Management
ISBN 978-1-908009-01-2
2010, Triarchy Press
by Russell L. Ackoff


The Seven Samurai of Systems Engineering: Dealing with the Complexity of 7 Interrelated Systems — by James Martin
There are seven different systems that must be acknowledged and understood by those who purport to do systems engineering. The main system to be engineered is the Intervention System that will be designed to solve a real or perceived problem. The Intervention System will be placed in a Context System and must be developed and deployed using a Realization System. The Intervention, when installed in the Context, becomes the Deployed System which is often different in substantial ways from the original intent of the Intervention. This Deployed System will interact with Collaborating Systems to accomplish its own functions. A Sustainment System provides services and materials to keep the Deployed System operational. Finally, there are one or more Competing Systems that may also solve the original problem and will compete for resources with your Deployed System. All seven systems must be properly reckoned with when engineering a system.
Wiley Online Library – INCOSE International Symposium – Volume 14, Issue 1, June 2004, Pages: 459–470, James N Martin
DOI: 10.1002/j.2334-5837.2004.tb00509.x
The proceedings of INCOSE International Symposia are free accessible for INCOSE members after logging in via this link:

Managing Complexity: The Nine-System Model — by Joseph Kasser and Yang-Yang Zhao
Systems engineering has been defined as “the science of designing complex systems in their totality to ensure that the component subsystems making up the system are designed, fitted together, checked and operated in the most efficient way” (Jenkins, 1969). This paper documents research that reviewed three existing models for managing the complexity of the system development process in the INCOSE literature and found that while these models drew different systems of interest (SOI) from different perspectives they were unable to manage complexity in any practical manner. This paper then presents a Nine-System Model that can be used to manage complexity. This Nine-System Model builds in best practices and, being self-similar, can be applied in any level of the systems hierarchy. The nine systems in the model comprise situations, processes and socio-technical systems in a clearly defined interdependent manner. The application of the Nine-System Model is illustrated in two examples. The paper then compares the four different models, and uses the Nine-System Model as a framework to relate the MIL-STD-499 (MIL-STD-499A, 1974), EIA 632 (EIA 632, 1994), IEEE 1220 (IEEE 1220, 1998) and the ISO/IEC 15288 (Arnold, 2002) Standards, the SIMILAR process (Bahill and Gissing, 1998), Hitchins’ version of systems engineering (Hitchins, 2007) and the problem-solving process and shows that each is a subset of the Nine-System Model. The paper concludes with a summary of the key benefits of the Nine-System Model.

Interpreting “systems architecting” (pages 369–395 in Systems Engineering, Volume 15 Issue 4 — free access for INCOSE members, see below)
M. R. Emes, P. A. Bryant, M. K. Wilkinson, P. King, A. M. James and S. Arnold
Article first published online: 16 MAY 2012 | DOI: 10.1002/sys.21202
Abstract | References

Towards a Best Practice Guide in Systems Engineering for Systems of Moderate Complexity
This paper looks at the situation of systems engineers and systems engineering in developing systems of moderate complexity. Seen the long-term goal of establishing a best practice guideline for systems engineers in the development of such systems, it presents compiled results that were obtained by the MkS working group of “Gesellschaft für Systems Engineering” [the German chapter of INCOSE, remark of the translator]. The conclusion is that such results, but even more the personal network of professionals supports the systems engineer in daily business.

INCOSE zGuides provide a short overview about 8 topics of systems engineering by INOCSE UK

Are Systems Engineers complete losers when it comes to communication? — by Chris Rupp

Manfred Broy, Martin Feilkas, Markus Herrmannsdoerfer, Stefano Merenda, Daniel Ratiu
Seamless Model-Based Development: From Isolated Tools to Integrated Model Engineering Environments
In Proceedings of the IEEE, pp. 526 - 545, volume 98, number 4, IEEE, 2010
Journal article   Details | Bibtex Entry | Link

Manfred Broy, Mario Gleirscher, Peter Kluge, Wolfgang Krenzer, Stefano Merenda, Doris Wild
Automotive Architecture Framework: Towards a Holistic and Standardised System Architecture Description.
Technical Report, number TUM-I0915, Technische Universität München, 2009
Technical Report   Details | Bibtex Entry

Enterprise Architecture and Systems Thinking – Realising Capability — by Nic Plum

Interview with Vitruvius — by Paul L. Jansen
About 2030 years after writing his book, or rather ten books, under the title 'De Architectura' (on architecture), and for the first time in as many years, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio granted me an exclusive interview. In this short interview Vitruvius tackles the real issues concerning architecture directly and provocatively, re-establishing his powerful vision on architecture. …


Journal of Systems Engineering:
This journal is free accessible for INCOSE members after logging in via this link:

INCOSE Insight (free accessible for INCOSE members)

Case Studies

An Investigation of the Therac-25 Accidents

The World’s Weirdest Engineering Disaster


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