A Systems-Oriented Toolset for Developing Systems and Projects

Dennis Holeman
Revised 9 October 2019

One of the major contributions of a holistic systems perspective is a structured framework for developing systems and projects over an entire life cycle. The life cycle extends from the earliest consideration of an opportunity, through design and development, extending into implementation and transition into operational use, through final retirement and disposition. Each stage of this process can benefit from careful examination, asking key questions, looking at possible pitfalls, seeking relevant insights, and employing tools and resources that assist in the process. (Read more).

Over the course of my whole career as a systems engineer, I have continually refined a personal toolset based on this concept. The applicability of any particular element in the toolset is dependent on the specific effort; obviously, many aspects are only required for the most complex and elaborate conditions. Most utilizations will be highly simplified, compared with the entire toolset. However, the whole scope may be applicable for some of the largest efforts mankind will be doing now (e.g., mitigating climate change), in order to avoid inadvertent errors and unintended consequences.

My toolset is always a work in process, being updated and improved continually as new experience points to additions and corrections. It is structured in the form of a Microsoft Excel workbook, organized with sheets for each phase of the effort. Probably the toolset’s heart is the tab, Traditional Systems Engineering Functions. However, you are encouraged to examine each tab in addition to this one.

The workbook is best viewed on a larger screen due to the length of the columns.

Download the workbook, A Systems-Oriented Toolset.

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