A Balanced Approach to Systems Engineering

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technical inventory and software licensing, across the customer's organization, will aid in making these decisions. The importance of this activity cannot be overstated. Even a large and well funded organization can face a diminishing opportunity to invest in new and necessary systems, in order to adapt to business changes and new business opportunities, as legacy systems' maintenance costs increase, technologies are retired by vendors, and maintenance personnels' business and technical skills diverge over time, while their knowledge fades. Maintenance can overwhelm an organization’s technical budget. Consider an "Agile" approach to IT portfolio management.

A balanced approach to systems engineering project management will help navigate difficult and seemingly intractable decisions. A project manager’s focus should remain on business needs, with technology and tools as supporting elements, having a limited and identified lifespan. "Agile" principles should be considered for technology selection and product maintenance, as well as for software development.

About the author

Ryan Maxwell's picture Ryan Maxwell

Ryan Maxwell is a senior consultant with MTS, a Virginia-based technical consulting firm. He earned a bachelor of arts from Johns Hopkins University and has thirteen years of systems engineering experience. He is a PMI-certified project manager, a Sun-certified enterprise architect, and an IBM-certified process specialist and requirements manager. Ryan enjoys speaking about systems engineering and working on technical projects. He lives with his wife in California.

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