WIT Press

Systems engineering beliefs: Contemplating personal perceptions regarding state of the art


Free (open access)


Volume 11 (2016), Issue 1



Page Range

10 - 23

Paper DOI



WIT Press




Systems engineering (SE) theories and practices for effectively dealing with complex systems are still evolving. Principal stakeholders are integral to complex systems, so we cannot predict or prespecify how the system changes. Every systems engineer has his own professional viewpoint derived from cultural background, upbringing/education and experience/maturation. The author has decided how all this fits his career and current ‘mindsight’. He encourages other systems’ engineers to examine and share their thoughts to help attain a more collective and forward looking view of systems engineering to advance the field. This paper provides a frame-work for system engineers to contemplate whether they are of the traditional system of systems; enterprise; or the complex type. Perspectives on SE attributes are offered to assist any systems engineer in characterizing his belief system, stylistic approach, and overall effectiveness in engineering complex systems. Systems engineers might reflect on what applies to them and to what relative extent. If a particular set of attributes dominates, is that appropriate? What changes in outlook, style, and emphasis might make a more effective systems engineer? Several existence categories are suggested and proportioned through each of life’s stages. System engineers may contemplate how these trends have affected their past behaviors, and how possible re-directions might improve their future accomplishments. Thinking through what we have done, are doing, and want to do as systems’ engineers is recommended. Anyone’s chosen way is no better than any other possibility. It depends on a multitude of circumstances in each of our lives.


belief system, complex system, enterprise, religion, system of systems, systems engineering