System Definition (glossary)

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A set of core technical activities of systems engineering, including the activities that are completed primarily in the front-end portion of the system design. This consists of the definition of system requirements, the design of one or more logical and physical architectures, and analysis and selection between possible solution options. (Created for SEBoK)


This definition was developed for the SEBoK.


System definition is a knowledge area in the SEBoK that includes several front-end systems engineering activities, such as system requirements development; functional, logical and physical architectural design, and system analysis. This generally aligns with the "concept stage" as discussed in INCOSE (2012). In the SEBoK, system concept definition is used to discuss the assessment of the mission and stakeholder requirements.

Work Cited

INCOSE. 2012. Systems Engineering Handbook: A Guide for System Life Cycle Processes and Activities, version 3.2.2. San Diego, CA, USA: International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), INCOSE-TP-2003-002-03.2.2.

SEBoK v. 2.10, released 06 May 2024