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The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers. Uncommon Minds, Skills, and Careers. Wiley Series in Systems Engineering and Management

  • ID: 4523391
  • Book
  • October 2018
  • Region: Global
  • 272 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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A guide that explores what enables systems engineers to be effective in their profession and reveals how organizations can help them attain success

The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers offers an in–depth look at the proficiencies and personal qualities effective systems engineers require and the positions they should seek for successful careers. The book also gives employers practical strategies and tools to evaluate their systems engineers and advance them to higher performance. The authorsexplore why systems engineers are uncommon and how they can assess, improve, and cleverly leverage their uncommon strengths. These insights for being an ever more effective systems engineer apply equally well to classic engineers and project managers who secondarily do some systems engineering. 

The authors have written a guide to help systems engineers embrace the values that are most important to themselves and their organizations. Solidly based on interviews with over 350 systems engineers, classic engineers, and managers as well as detailed written career descriptions from 2500 systems engineers The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers identifies behavioral patterns that effective systems engineers use to achieve success. This important resource:

  • Offers aspiring systems engineers practical methods for success that are built on extensive empirical evidence and underlying theory
  • Shows systems engineers how to visually document their relative strengths and weaknesses, map out their careers, and compare themselves to the best in their organizations a rich set of tools for individuals, mentors, and organizations
  • Offers practical guidance to managers and executives who lead systems engineering workforce improvement initiatives

Written for systems engineers, their managers, business executives, those who do some systems engineering but primarily identify with other professions, as well as HR professionals, The Paradoxical Mindset of Systems Engineers offers the most comprehensive career guidance in the field available today.

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About The Authors




Chapter 1: Paradoxical Mindset

What is Systems Engineering?

Being A Systems Engineer

Book Structure

Career Development Ecosystem for Systems Engineers

A Short Summary of The Helix Project


Notes and References

Chapter 2: Six Uncommon Values

The Parable of the Three Stonecutters

What Is Greatness, Anyhow?

Value 1: Keep and Maintain The System Vision

Value 2: Translate Technical Jargon into Business or Operational Terms and Vice Versa

Value 3: Enable Diverse Teams to Successfully Develop Systems

Value 4: Manage Emergence in Both The Project and The System

Value 5: Enable Good Technical Decisions at The System Level

Value 6: Support The Business Case for The System

How Others View Systems Engineers

Notes and References

Chapter 3: Fifteen Roles Systems Engineers Play

Roles Focused on the Systems Being Developed

Roles Focused on Systems Engineering Process and Organization

Roles Focused on Teams That Build Systems

Relationship Between Roles and Values

Art Pyster at Digital Sound Corporation

Systems Engineers Often Perform Management Roles


The Seniority Framework

Three Systems Engineers with Increasing Seniority

Junior Systems Engineer

Mid–Level Systems Engineer

Senior–Level Systems Engineer

Notes and References

Chapter 4: A Systems Engineer s Proficiencies

Engineering Proficiencies Cluster

Area 1: Math/science/general engineering

Area 2: System s domain & operational context

Systems Proficiencies Cluster

Area 3: Systems Engineering Discipline

Area 4: Systems Mindset

Professional Proficiencies Cluster

Area 5: Interpersonal Skills

Area 6: Technical Leadership Example Positions

Systems Engineers are –Shaped

The Whole Package

Notes and References

Chapter 5: Hidden in Plain Sight

Case 1: Japanese Bullet Train: Fast, Frequent, Safe and Punctual

Case 2: Boeing 777: Maintaining the Vision from Start to End

Case 3: HealthCare.gov: Disastrous Start, Incredible Recovery

Notes and References

Chapter 6: Proficiency Profiles

Assessing Proficiency

The Self–Assessment Rubric

MITRE s Early Use of Atlas and Personal Proficiency Profiles

Exemplar and Recommended Proficiency Profiles

Aggregate Proficiency Profiles

Notes and References

Chapter 7: The Three Forces of Professional Growth

Force 1: Experiences

Force 2: Mentoring

Force 3: Education & Training

Force Multipliers

Personal Characteristics as Force Multipliers

Self–Assessing Personal Characteristics

Organizational Characteristics as Force Multipliers

Notes and References

Chapter 8: The Careers of Highly Successful Systems Engineers

Nicole Hutchison Grows into a Systems Engineer

Two Datasets about Senior Systems Engineers

Four Questions

The Education of Systems Engineers

The Education of Interviewed Chief Systems Engineers

The Education of INCOSE Systems Engineering Professionals

Overall Conclusions About The Education of Systems Engineers

The Experiences of Chief Systems Engineers

Lifecycle Phases in Which Chief Systems Engineers Have Worked

Roles That Chief Systems Engineers Perform

Experiences of Expert Systems Engineering Professionals

Overall Conclusions About The Experiences of Very Senior Systems Engineers

Cathy s Career Revisited

Career maps for Pyster and Hutchison

Notes and References

Chapter 9: Secondarily a Systems Engineer

Classic Engineers

A Senior Electrical Engineer Who Is Secondarily A Systems Engineer

Systems Education for All Engineers

Proficiencies of 21st Century Classic engineers

Program and Project Managers

A Project Manager Who Is Secondarily A Systems Engineer

Notes and References

Chapter 10: Thrive

Looking Ahead

How A Junior or Mid–Level Systems Engineer Can Thrive

How A Classic engineer, Who Is Secondarily A Systems Engineer, Can Thrive

How A Manager of Systems Engineers Can Thrive

How An Executive Can Thrive

Closing Thoughts

Notes and References

Appendix A.

Biographical Sketches of Quoted Systems Engineers

Glossary and Acronyms


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Arthur Pyster
Nicole Hutchison
Devanandham Henry
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