As a member of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) System of Systems Working Group (SoSWG), I was asked to present during a monthly webinar about SoS – “What’s in it for me/” I was asked to present this topic because I brought up this question during the International Symposium in 2017 during a special session of the working group.

The “What’s in it for me?” question applies not only to individual Systems Engineering (SE) professionals, it it also an organizational question that INCOSE has been dealing with in general. SoS has a special place because it is a complex topic. Systems are increasingly asked to do more with existing systems and in new operational contexts. New systems in this mix add additional challenges. A system developed today is likely software and data intensive. The system is probably connected via the internet and has a place in the Internet of Things located somewhere in the cloud. The new system must also not regress component systems, but interact with legacy systems built on different software foundations which may have little commonality with modern software implementations. A tough spot for the new system!

But complexity and challenges with implementing SoS wasn’t at the core of my message. I wanted to poke at the answer to the “What’s in it for me/” question. After thinking about it, my answer to that question includes the following response:

  • Participating and contributing to SoS and other SE disciplines enrich the individual and add to their value as engineers, employees, and thinkers
  • Learning about latest methods, techniques and concepts allow the individual to add value to their employer, business, customers or stakeholders whoever they may be
  • Engaging with others in the field improve and add value to INCOSE as an association