Educating Software Engineers to Become Systems Engineers

Keywords Educating Software Engineers to Become Systems Engineers

As shown in Figure 1, before the fall semester starts, the course staff reviews the
project proposals submitted by potential clients. If the project will not fit into a 2-semester software engineering class, the proposal will be dropped. This is done by the first milestone, the Exploration Commitment Review (ECR). The second milestone is the Valuation Commitment Review (VCR), which will be conducted after the student teams analyze the clients’ current business processes and explore alternatives. The third milestone is the Foundations Commitment Review (FCR), which evaluates whether the project is feasible and ready to define various project foundations such as the system and software architecture and the project plans.

The Development Commitment Review (DCR) is the fourth milestone which evaluates whether the team has built the right foundations, including the detailed architecture and plans for the Development phase. To accommodate the possible client and team changes over the semester break, the fifth milestone, Re baselined Development Commitment Review (RDCR) is held to confirm
that all the success critical stakeholders are committed to the foundations and that the team is ready to implement the product based on the agreed foundations. A Core Capability Drive through (CCD) is held after the first development iteration in order to check the usability and completeness of the core functionalities. The Transition Readiness Review (TRR) evaluates whether the team is ready to perform system and software transition. The Operations Commitment Review (OCR) evaluates whether the clients will be able to successfully operate and maintain the system and software.

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technical white paper
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Our two-semester USC core software engineering project course CS577ab devotes its first semester to having students learn and do systems engineering on a real-client project. This requires a good deal of just-in-time lectures, tutorials, and homework to prepare the students, and feedback in terms of mentoring, artifact grading, and live milestone reviews to help them succeed. This paper provides some initial motivation and context; discusses our approach to introduce systems engineering into software engineering relative to that in the GSwE 2009 curriculum guidelines, SEBOK draft 2010, and SWEBOK 2004; describes the course practices during the systems engineering and software engineering semesters; and summarizes the project results and conclusions.

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