NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Systems Engineering Seminar

Complexity and Systems Engineering

Presented by:
Sarah Sheard, Principal,
Third Millennium Systems

April 5, 2011, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Complexity and Systems Engineering

Systems are being designed, built, and maintained that are more complex than ever before. Few people argue with this, but when pressed about their definition of complexity, there are likely to be no two answers that are similar. Sarah Sheard, who is working toward a PhD in Complex Systems Engineering, will discuss causes and effects of complexity, complexity of projects, systems, the environment, and the mental abilities of the people in all these areas.  She will give a brief overview of the scientific background of complexity, both historical and recent, and then address how systems engineering relates to complexity.

She will show how SE (and INCOSE) has typically dealt with complexity in the past and what will change in systems engineering of the future. As part of this she will show the small set of complexity measurements that are included in her dissertation research on complexity measurements correlated to program success.



Photo of Sarah Sheard Sarah A. Sheard has thirty years' experience in systems engineering of aerospace and software-intensive systems. She is currently working toward a PhD in the area of complex systems engineering, with emphasis on complexity measurement. She has been consulting in systems engineering, process improvement, and teams for the past sixteen years. A Certified Systems Engineering Professional, she was awarded the International Council on Systems Engineering's prestigious Founder's Award in 2002 and became a Fellow in 2006. Many of Ms. Sheard’s numerous publications in systems engineering and process improvement are being used in systems engineering curricula around the world.

Ms. Sheard previously spoke at the GSFC Systems Engineering Seminar on The Twelve Roles and Three Types of Systems Engineering, in February 2003.

February 11, 2003 - The Twelve Roles and Three Types of Systems Engineering
Presented by: Sarah Sheard, Software Productivity Consortium
Abstract and Bio | Poster (doc) | Videocast (Video Stream) | Presentation (ppt 1.4 MB)



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