It has been established, therefore, that there is a clear need for a common language that can be used as an enabler for our systems-engineering activities. The most widely used language, to date, to achieve this has been the Unified Modelling Language, or UML, as it is widely known. However, there were many arguments why UML is suitable or not for systems engineering, but the irrefutable facts of the matter are these.
• The UML has been used very successfully for systems-engineering activities in many application domains for many years.
• There are some areas of the UML that can be improved upon.
Replaced/Superseded by document(s)
How do you solve a problem like systems engineering? Systems engineering is one of those disciplines that can be applied to just about anything by just about anyone. Also, people have been engineering systems since the dawn of mankind, so why is it a subject that is very often misunderstood? Systems engineering is often seen as an emerging discipline, which may be true in terms of formal education, such as university programmes, but without systems engineering we wouldn’t have Stonehenge or the pyramids – these are examples of systems that have clearly been systems engineered. Also, consider political systems, financial systems, belief systems and so on. All of these have not happened by chance and must have been planned and developed in some way, according to an approach. In the same way, many people will be badged with the term systems engineer, even though they are not. Many people will have evolved into a systems engineer from being a specialist in a particular field. For example, many people have evolved from being a software engineer into a systems engineer; many people who were systems analysts or designers are now systems engineers. One of the great misconceptions about systems engineering is that it is all about requirements engineering -sure, requirements are tremendously important, but systems engineering is more than a sum of its parts. In order to understand how this has occurred, it is first necessary to try to define exactly what we mean by systems engineering.