This is a guest post by Patrick Sweet, P.Eng.
This may not come as a big surprise, but it takes a very different approach to engineering when you’re designing a space shuttle than when you’re designing a guitar amplifier (No offense, Marshall fans). The challenges and issues are simply different in nature when you tackle a mega-project. There’s more to integrate, there are more people involved, and much of what gets done has never been done before. These differences have lead to the emergence of a number of new techniques and processes in a discipline of engineering called systems engineering.
In its simplest form, systems engineers lead and guide teams in the development of complex systems. As systems become more complicated and more tightly integrated with other systems, the need for specialized engineering knowledge becomes more and more obvious.
So, even though the approach to engineering a big system is different than when you are tackling a smaller product or project, there are still lessons that can be learned from the world of systems engineering that can apply to anyone in engineering.
Today, I’ll share three ways to think like a systems engineer to improve your designs – no matter what the scale.