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The Changing Nature of Systems Engineering and Government Enterprises: Report from a Case Study Research Effort

[document] Submitted on 13 September, 2019 - 09:26
Keywords The Changing Nature of Systems Engineering and Government Enterprises: Report from a Case Study Research Effort
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Since MITRE’s early days, when there was more emphasis on designing and developing custom-built systems for individual agencies (commonly referred to as “stovepipe” or “silo” systems), MITRE has had to face two main expansions of complexity relative to its engineering work activity, the first technological and the second organizational. First, under the rubric of “information superiority,” a shift from custom-built systems to the use of information technology (IT) for communication, command and control systems (referred to as “software-intensive systems”) has been going on for over twenty years. Systems engineering, a discipline traditionally oriented towards design, development and testing of standalone weapons and radar systems, struggles with geometrically cascading interdependencies driven and shaped by IT (Bourgeois & Eisenhardt 1988; Leveson 2004). The upstream suppliers (cf. Davies 2003; Hobday, Davies, & Prencipe 2005; Pavitt 2003) of IT are less likely to be large system contractors and more likely to be commercial product vendors selling commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies. Second, MITRE’s downstream customers are less likely to be single organizations looking for standalone (“stovepipe”) systems and more likely to be multiple organizations seeking inter-organizational networked systems. In a recent survey of senior systems engineers at MITRE, the organizational and political aspects of major projects are considered to be at least as challenging as the technical aspects (Rashid 2008).

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Date published
2001
Document type
technical white paper
Pages
30
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