Letter from the Editor

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A very warm welcome to all SEBoK users. The BKCASE Editor in Chief (EIC) has overall responsibility for the continuing review and update of the SEBoK. Many thanks to the BKCASE Governors and the current members of the Editorial Board for supporting me.

I am delighted to be able to talk to you about SEBoK v. 1.7, which continues our commitment to regular review of the information referenced in our "Guide to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge".

The approach taken by the BKCASE Editorial Board to manage and evolve the SEBoK is itself continuing to evolve. SEBoK v1.4 was a significant milestone in this evolution, creating an alignment of SEBoK content with significant updates of ISO/IEC/IEEE. 15288:2015 Systems and Software Engineering - System Life Cycle Processes and the INCOSE SE Handbook v4.0, 2015. This marked something of a culmination of work started within the community working across all three of these products reaching back to the beginnings of the BKCASE project in 2009. Since then effort has been split between continuing to build on and mature content within the existing SEBoK and exploring other areas of related knowledge.

SEBok, v.1.6 contained a number of structural changes to facilitate the ongoing evolution of the SEBoK. In particular a new section was included in Part 1 to reflect the ongoing transformation of the discipline of SE and associated emerging areas of knowledge. The first two of these being in Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and the expansion of SEBoK to cover domain specific SE knowledge.

Version 1.7 continues this dual approach of ongoing maintenance and continuing evolution of the SEBoK .

SEBoK v. 1.7

SEBoK v1.7 builds on the reorganization of Part 1 started in v1.6. The initial article on of Healthcare SE introduced for v1.6 has been expanded into a new Healthcare SE Knowledge Area (KA) and moved to Part 4: Applications of Systems Engineering. The four new articles in this KA, represent the first significant expansion of the SEBoK into domain specific content.

Two new articles have been added alongside the MBSE related content introduced in v1.6. The first is an MBSE case study added to Part 7. The second is an article describing work to model Systems Engineering Core Concepts. This work was undertaken in conjunction with the Object Management Group (OMG) to support development of their system modelling language (SySML). These modelling related articles remain in Part 1 for this update.

The final structural update makes use of the output of work done within the editorial board to describe the organization of knowledge within the SEBoK itself. An updated article on the Structure of the SEBoK gives an overview of the outputs of this work. A simplified version of the central model created has also been added to the SEBoK main page and the introductions to each part to aid in navigation and understanding. Alongside these changes SEBoK v1.7 continues to review and evolve other content. New or modified content can be found in Parts 5, 6 and 7. We have also made a number of small changes in response to comments made on the SEBoK by people in the SE community. Many thanks for everyone who has taken the time to leave comments and suggestion in the SEBoK.

See Acknowledgements and Release History for a more detailed list of all changes made for v1.7.

Future Direction for SEBoK

It has been my continuing privilege over the last 12 months to continue working with the group of dedicated and knowledgeable contributing authors and reviewers who make up the BKCASE community; and to help grow this community to expand our relationships with key organizations and groups both within systems engineering and outside of it.

The role of the Editorial Board is to work with this community of interest on an ongoing review of the current SEBoK content and structure and to develop plans for its maintenance and evolution. Our overall goals in evolving the SEBoK remain broadly the same as those outlined in previous SEBoK updates. I have restated and slightly modified those goals below:

  • Improve the ways in which Part 1 (SEBoK Introduction) provides a starting point for different SEBoK users to find and navigate knowledge relevant to them. This will include consideration of some of the SEBoK Use Cases which were not expanded in previous releases, and possible new case studies covering application domains such as Defense, Health Care or Transport.
  • Review Part 2 (Foundations of Systems Engineering) with help from the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) to better understand the relationships between systems science and systems thinking as applied to engineered systems. We hope this will lead to an improved integration of systems principles, concepts, patterns and models into the other systems engineering focused knowledge areas across the SEBoK.
  • Look for broader views on the key practices of Part 3 (Systems Engineering and Management) to feed back into the ongoing co evolution of key standards. In particular make more direct reference to the continuing evolution of Agile life cycle thinking and bring in more knowledge sources from the model based SE (MBSE) community.
  • Expand our coverage of knowledge on systems engineering application and practices. In particular look for ways to bring in more knowledge on how systems engineering practices such as architecting, life cycle tailoring and model based systems engineering are applied in other domains.
  • Identify the other groups, both within the systems engineering community and beyond, with interest in the topics of Part 5 (Enabling Systems Engineering) and Part 6 Related Disciplines and form stronger relationships with them. For example we are working with the IEEE Computer Society about the relationship between SE and Software Engineering.

In 2016 we will slightly modify the SEBoK release dates, moving from June and Dec to March and Sept. This will allow us to better align the publishing schedule with our working sessions at INCOSE and IEEE-CS international events. We continue to work towards ensuring that our coverage of existing systems engineering knowledge is complete and to push the boundaries of that knowledge into new approaches and domains. I also want to strengthen further our links to all members of the systems engineering community through things like the SEBoK Sandbox. If you are interested in any of the activity discussed above or if you have other topics which we should be considering please contact me or the appropriate member of the Editorial Board directly or use one of the available feedback mechanisms.

We have made a good start on gathering review comments and content suggestions from as wide a variety of individuals as possible to make the SEBoK a truly community-led product. Thank you to all those who have already joined this effort and I continue to look forward to working with many of you on future SEBoK releases.

Thank you,

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