Webinar 169: Systems engineering and software engineering

    Meeting Title: Systems engineering and software engineering: interactions among people, processes, and technologies

    Presenter Name:  Richard (Dick) Fairley

    Date: Wednesday, 15 November 2023

    Time: 11:00am-12:00pm EST (4:00pm-5:00pm UTC)

    INCOSE Webinar 169 Invitation


    Systems engineers interact with many kinds of engineers to develop many kinds of systems that involve many kinds of technologies. Systems engineers (SEs) work closely with, or should work closely with, software engineers (SWEs) given the increasing dependence of modern systems on software that supports critical missions, businesses, and products. Dr. Barry Boehm described systems engineering and software engineering as being intimately intertwined. *

    His observation should not be interpreted to mean that projects and programs involving systems engineering and software engineering are hopelessly and chaotically entangled, although that is sometimes the case. The purpose of this webinar is to present some of the causes of chaotic entanglement of systems engineering and software engineering and to describe some antidotes that can help resolve entanglement and improve intertwining.

    Interactions among systems engineers and software engineers are inhibited by the fundamental differences between hardware and software and the resulting differences in education and work experiences, different uses of terminology, different hardware and software quality attributes and success criteria, different approaches to system development that fail to integrate incremental processes for hardware development and iterative processes for software development, including failure to collaboratively develop the interfaces among hardware and software entities.

    * Boehm, B. W. “Integrating Software Engineering and Systems Engineering.” The Journal of NCOSE Vol. 1 (No. 1): pp. 147-151. 1994.


    Richard (Dick) Fairley joined INCOSE in 2012. He is currently Assistant Director for Accreditation of the INCOSE Academic Council and an ABET Commissioner and Team Chair for the ABET Engineer Accreditation Commission (EAC). Dick was co-editor of the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK, V3) and a member of the team that developed the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK). He was leader of the team that developed the Software Engineering Competence Model (SWECOM).

    Dick contributed two articles to the Systems Engineering Handbook V5. He was a member of the team that developed the ABET EAC program criteria for accrediting systems engineering academic programs and has developed training material for systems engineering program evaluators. He also led the INCOSE team that participated in developing the EAC program criteria for cybersecurity engineering. He is the former chair of the IEEE Computer Society’s Systems and Software Engineering Committee. Dick is an emeritus professor of the Oregon Graduate Institute where he was a faculty member in the collaborative Oregon Masters of Software Engineering program, and was Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at OGI. Dick is currently a volunteer for INCOSE and ABET. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and a PhD in computer science.


    We have moved to the ZOOM platform for INCOSE webinars. One significant change is that we recommend that attendees join audio now using the ZOOM platform audio (Voice over Internet). This worked very effectively for the recent (virtual) International Symposium.

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