Structure of the SEBoK
- 1 SEBoK Structure
- 2 Overview of Parts
- 2.1 Part 1: SEBoK Introduction
- 2.2 Part 2: Foundations of Systems Engineering
- 2.3 Part 3: Systems Engineering and Management
- 2.4 Part 4: Applications of Systems Engineering
- 2.5 Part 5: Enabling Systems Engineering
- 2.6 Part 6: Related Disciplines
- 2.7 Part 7: Systems Engineering Implementation Examples
- 2.8 Addenda
- 3 Inter-relationships
- 4 References
- 5 SEBoK Discussion
The Guide to the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK) is a living authoritative guide that discusses knowledge relevant to Systems Engineering. SEBoK does not contain all of this knowledge itself, but provides a starting point and key resources to allow the reader to navigate the wider body of knowledge that exists in published sources. To do this SEBoK:
- Defines how relevant knowledge should be structured to facilitate understanding.
- Provides short discussions of key idea, principles and concepts within that structure.
- Points to reference sources important to the discipline, which explore these ideas in more detail.
In doing this it is inevitable that we will come across differences in terminology, alternative approaches and even fundamentally different ways of thinking within the knowledge. SEBoK attempts were possible to provide clarity of similar or overlapping idea, or to highlight real differences and the reasons behind them. In particular the SEBoK glossary contains the most used or generally agreed definitions of terms when it can, but may highlight more than one definition if needed to show breadth of current thinking.
Figure 1, below, gives a summary of the 7 parts of the SEBoK and how they are related.
Figure 1 Relationships between SEBoK Parts (ref IEEE Paper).
The scope of each part and the key relationships amongst them is briefly discussed below. For a more detailed discussion of how this structure was evolved see (Adcock et al, 2016).
Overview of Parts
Part 1: SEBoK Introduction
To help you get the most out of the SEBoK, this part explains the scope, context, and structure of the SEBoK, and then turns to aspects of systems engineering (SE) itself that matter as you begin to use the SEBoK: SE's economic value, history, future, and relationship to other disciplines. An overview of who should use the SEBoK, and for what purpose, is followed by detailed use cases. This part concludes with a summary of how the SEBoK has evolved.
Stating what systems are, this part covers systems fundamentals and moves on to describe systems science in terms of history and major questions, systems thinking as a set of ideas to be used in SE, and how systems are represented with models. It concludes by looking at how to take a systems approach to an engineered system (ES), which leads naturally into the next two parts, which are concerned with SE management and applications.
How systems are engineered is the subject of this part, which begins with the life cycle models common in SE, then moves on to SE management, where planning, measurement, risk, and quality are among the topics. Next is product and service life management, a distinct area of SE management that emphasizes the entire life cycle including retirement and disposal. An account of SE standards concludes this part. Focused on what many think of as the main body of SE, including best practices and common pitfalls, this part constitutes a substantial proportion of the SEBoK. It is anticipated that this part and the following parts will reflect increased emphasis on model-based systems engineering (MBSE) practices as these practices continue to evolve and become more mainstream.
Part 5: Enabling Systems Engineering
The subject of this part is how to organize to perform SE activities, at the enterprise, team, or individual level. The range of considerations extends from value proposition, business purpose, and governance, down to competency, personal development as a systems engineer, and ethics.
Part 6: Related Disciplines
How SE is intertwined with software engineering (SwE), project management (PM), industrial engineering, procurement and acquisition, and specialty engineering, is the subject of this part, which describes the various system “–ilities” (like reliability, availability, and maintainability) that SE must balance and integrate.
A set of real-world examples of SE activities forms the natural conclusion of the SEBoK. These come in two forms: case studies, which refer the reader to and summarize published examinations of the successes and challenges of SE programs, and vignettes, which are brief, self-contained wiki articles. This part is a key place to look within the SEBoK for lessons learned, best practices, and patterns. Many links connect material in the examples to the conceptual, methodological, and other content elsewhere in the SEBoK.
The SEBoK contains a Glossary of Terms, which provides authoritatively-referenced definitions of key terms. It also contains a list of Primary References, with additional information about each reference. Quicklinks in the left margin provide additional background information, including a table of contents, a listing of articles by topic, and a list of Acronyms.
As you navigate the SEBoK, it may be useful to consider the relationships among the elements of the SEBoK and those found in its external environment. Figures 1 and 2 from the article Scope and Context of the SEBoK express those relationships. These figures are an outgrowth of a systems modeling language (SysML) concept map whose development, application, and iteration were key activities when the SEBoK was being written.
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