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Systems Engineering Life Cycles and Decomposition Processes

2 Days

Course Overview:


Teaching Systems Engineering is not an easy task, and textbooks are all over the map on how to do it. Concurrent, iterative, decomposition is likely the culprit. But there are other suspects as well. One very beneficial step an SE can take to help plan out a technical acquisition effort is to define its life cycle acquisition process (LCAP). We do this by dividing the project into phases separated by milestone events. Thus, this course will start here.


As a general construct, this course differentiates between how to apply the SE method, which includes Requirements Decomposition, Functional Analysis and Allocation, Design Synthesis and Systems Architecting, at each phase of the LCAP. While the same processes are being applied in each phase, which corresponds to increasing levels of architectural decomposition, they end up being significantly different tasks since you evolve from applying these processes to the system as a whole, then to a number of subsystems, and eventually to a large number of end-item configuration items, which we’ll refer to as components.


Since systems engineering is applied on complex, difficult projects, it is not for the faint of heart. There are many options to consider for how we efficiently evolve the development of the design solution, and the acquisition of the parts and materials we need to support fabrication and assembly, and the integration and test, required to deliver a complex system. Learn how to plan and manage these activities as the technical solution for complex systems evolve. We break up the system into architectural components, define interfaces between them, and then go about acquiring the components so they can be assembled into a system and tested.


But this architectural decomposition has to be conducted with strict process controls. This course therefore addresses the mission need, and how to define operational requirements required to support the mission. Learn how to convert operational requirements into functional requirements, identify groupings of functions that make good subsystems, and how to make top-level architectural decisions. We define the system to a level necessary to define performance requirements that could be realized by a feasible system design during concept exploration. Next, learn how the design has to be taken to the next level of specificity in order to define the system to a level of detail where operational performance, the development effort, and the life cycle costs of the system can be estimated.


Learn to visualize the type of equipment items that can carry out the functional capabilities being designed into the system, and illustrate the concurrent, iterative nature of systems engineering as we decompose the functional characteristics and architectural structure of the system in parallel.

The Instructor:


Dr. Jeffrey S. Ray, PMP, CSEP, PE, Esq.

CTO, BGM Group

Project Manager, Sr. Systems Engineer,

Northrop Grumman

Dr. Ray is a CTO, has 35 years of experience in project and organizational management, and systems engineering. He teaches graduate-level courses in Project Management, Project Control, Systems Engineering, Organizational Learning, International Management, and Political Economics. He is an SME in the systems engineering process, systems architecting, requirements allocation and traceability, and functional analysis and decomposition fields.

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  • Course Outline

    1. Life Cycle Acquisition Phases (LCAP)
      Divide the project into phases separated by key milestone events where decision authorities review status, monitor and administer progress, identify problems, make corrections, and grant approval to proceed to next phase.

    2. The Systems Engineering Process (SEP)
      Learn to apply the same systems engineering processes, discussed individually below, in each acquisition phase.

    3. Requirements Allocation, Traceability, Verification
      Learn how to define a complete requirements set, the value of restating requirements in one to many relation-ships during decomposition, and leveraging the RVTM to support verification activities.

    4. Functional Analysis and Decomposition
      Learn how to conduct functional analyses for the purpose of evaluating alternative design solutions.

    5. Systems Architecting
      As we decompose the functional capabilities of our target system, we start to think about the equipment items that are needed to accomplish the sub-function capabilities. These items of equipment are organized into subsystems within a defined structure that is called “Architecture.”

    6. Modeling & Simulation/Architectural Frameworks
      The majority of uncertainties inherent in the selected system design concept are resolved through analysis, simulation, development, and prototyping. We’ll review M&S, DoDAF views, Zachman enterprise architecture.
  • Tuition

    Tuition for this two-day course is $1390 per person at one of our scheduled public courses. Attendees use a workbook of all the illustrations used in the course, as well as a copy of the instructor's textbook, Satellite Communications for the Non-Specialist. Onsite pricing is available. Please call us at 410-956-8805 or send an email to