Project Management & Systems Engineering

Over the past few years we have found time and again that many view the problem-solving process in projects as a sub-area of project management and that many people are not familiar with systems engineering. In this article, we’ll show you the difference between project management and systems engineering, how they are linked – and where the problem-solving process belongs.

What is Project Management ?

Project management is a general term for various adjustments and management operations to protect QCD (quality, cost, delivery) in system development.

Project Management & System Development

What is Systems Engineering ?

New developments are becoming more and more complex, as customer requirements keep increasing. In order to enable these interdisciplinary developments at all in an acceptable time, it is important to maintain an overview and to make the right decisions early on in the development process.

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary approach to developing and implementing complex technical systems in large projects.

Difference between Project Management & Systems Engineering?

In addition to project management, when it comes to successfully completing large and complex development projects, systems engineering plays a key role. We have noticed that the term and the activities of systems engineering, as well as its differentiation from project management, is unknown to many project managers. Do you know the difference? To start with, here are two very brief definitions:

Project management is the umbrella term for all planning, monitoring, coordinating and controlling measures of a project in order to achieve the project goals as planned. Systems engineering ensures that a product or system is developed according to customer requirements and is delivered error-free within the cost and time frame.

You could also put it this way: The project management takes care of the project, and the systems engineering takes care of the product.

Why is Project Management Important in System Development?

Project management involving managers that aims to prevent and eliminate the following problems caused by poor QCD:

Project Management and systems development | qa-quality-assurance-quality-control-concept

Problems that occur to users and end users

Improving quality through project management will result in stable business operations for the client. On the other hand, if problems such as late delivery or quality deterioration occur during development, not only the client but also the end user who actually uses and purchases the service may be inconvenienced.

Problems with engineers working in the team

Unmanaged projects are prone to rework due to misunderstandings and minor mistakes within the team. When this situation worsens, overtime work to catch up with late delivery puts a strain on the engineer’s side, increasing the risk of further quality deterioration.

Therefore, project management will be an important task for engineers on the team to perform well in a stable environment.

Problems with the Company

If the customer is inconvenienced due to late delivery or quality deterioration, the company will incur some kind of penalty. On the other hand, if the development project is successful because of the management by the manager, the reputation of the company will increase and it will be easier to develop and sell other systems. In this way, a good manager who can prevent various risks on the company side and bring great benefits will be a talented person who can be drawn at many development sites.

Core Principles of Systems Engineering

Systems engineering activities run through the entire life cycle of the system. In the early stages of development it is important to understand the customer and the other stakeholders needs, and to translate these into specific requirements for the system. 

After the requirements are established, the focus is on applying the engineering design process to develop, build, test, use, maintain and retire the system at the end of its life. An important task for systems engineers in these phases is to be the “advocate” for the entire system. This means to ensure that all components of the system make their defined contribution to the system and that the components interact as they should.

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