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Glossary of Systems Engineering Terms

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Glossary of Acoustic, Noise and Sonar Engineering Terms

Glossary of Systems Engineering Terms

A glossary, also known as a vocabulary or clavis, is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge with the definitions for those terms. Traditionally, a glossary appears at the end of a book and includes terms within that book…


Acquisition Phase.  In the Acquisition Phase, the system is developed from a single statement of need to a deliverable system with all supporting, or enabling, products.

Baseline.  A baseline is a complete description of the configuration of a system at a particular point in its development.

Change Management.  Change management is the process by which changes to configuration items can occur throughout a project in a formal manner.

Configuration.  The configuration of a system, subsystem, module, or component is the manner in which the constituent elements are disposed of relative to each other.

Configuration Management.  Configuration management refers to the act of controlling and managing the physical and functional makeup of the configuration items that comprise the system.

Contract.  The contract is the formal agreement between the acquirer and the developer of the system. A contract contains all of the relevant terms and conditions as well as a statement of work.

Deliverable.  A deliverable is an item that has been agreed to be delivered to the acquirer by the supplier (contractor).

Human Factors.  Human factors involve the study of human psychological, social, physical, and biological characteristics as they pertain to the incorporation of the human element into a system.

Interface.  An interface is a statement of the functional requirements and constraints that exist at a common boundary between two functions (functional interface ) or two configuration items (physical interface ).

Lifecycle Model.  The lifecycle of a system commences with a statement of need and ends with the disposal of the system brought into service to satisfy that need.

Logistics.  Logistics relates to the processes of obtaining and distributing the material required to support operational systems.

Metric.  A metric is a measure used in systems engineering to provide an indication of achievement or progress.

Prototype<.  A prototype is a model of an end or enabling product that is built during the Acquisition Phase to assist in the design activities.

Quality Assurance (QA)   Quality assurance is the methodology, processes, and procedures implemented to guarantee a desired level of quality.

Requirements.  A requirement is a statement of a system service, attribute, or constraint.

Requirements Engineering.  The requirements engineering process is a set of activities intended to derive, validate and maintain a set of system requirements.

Requirements Management.  Requirements management is the process by which changes to requirements are managed throughout the system lifecycle.

Reviews.  Technical reviews are a vital part of the systems engineering process that provides the ability to determine that the design is meeting the necessary requirements.

Software.  Very few modern systems are just hardware without any software components.

Specification.  A specification contains the functional, performance, and verification requirements of a system as well as a description of interfaces and constraints.

Standard.  A standard is a document, developed by a regulatory authority or by a consensus of experts, that establishes requirements and provides guidelines for processes and products.

System Architecture.  System architecture is the collection and relationship of the components that make up the system.

System Design.  System design is the process by which solutions to users’ requirements can be defined, selected, and described.

Systems Engineering (SE)   Systems engineering started to emerge as a formal discipline in the 1950s, primarily driven by the US DoD programs of the era.

Systems Engineering Management.  Systems engineering management encompasses all those activities associated with the management of the systems engineering process implemented to deliver the system.

Systems Engineering Process.  The Systems Engineering Process is an iterative problem-solving process based on the fundamental cycle of analyze-synthesize-evaluate.

Systems Engineering Tools.  Systems engineering tools are those tools that support systems engineering processes and systems engineering management.

Technical Risk Management.  Technical risk management is the process by which risks can be identified, quantified, assessed, and managed.

Test And Evaluation (T&E).  The test and evaluation (T&E) effort is aimed at ensuring a consistent and coordinated approach to system testing with a changing focus at each of the lifecycle stages.

Test Management.  Test management is very important since the test and evaluation effort is a complex and expensive component of a project.

Training.  Training is an important part of a system since it is unlikely that the delivered system has been operated, maintained, or supported by the user before.

User Requirements Document (URD).  The User Requirement Document contains the requirements from the stakeholders, particularly the users (operators, maintainers, trainers, marketers, etc).

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