Systems Engineering Needs Analysis

Systems Engineering Process, Part 1

This is Part 1 of an individual assignment that you will be working on in weeks 5, 7, and 9.

Part 1 consists of identifying a need statement for a problem that you identify that is within

one of the following areas:

1. Personalized medicine

2. Personalized learning

3. Economical access to clean water

4. Economical solar energy

5. Enhanced virtual reality

Refer to for ideas of the problem space in these five

areas that are part of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) grand challenges. Please

do not try to tackle the problems as they are stated on the website. These are large and

complex issues that may be overwhelming to apply the systems engineering process to. The

intent of the assignment is to apply the systems engineering process, not to solve the problem.

However, feel free to leverage the information from the NAE to identify a ‘reasonable’

problem within the problem space domain. For example, you could choose the problem of

harnessing solar energy for powering your auto’s air conditioning system. Or, you could

focus on personalized treatments for diabetes. There are many possibilities. Please be sure

to properly define your problem domain to be a narrow problem in the problem space so that

you can work on the problem within the timespan of the course. You are not trying to solve

world hunger or design a flying car.

For Part 1 you will be addressing the needs analysis phase. Start by identifying the problem

that you will be addressing. Consider performing additional research or leveraging your own

personal experience so that you are comfortable with the problem statement. Then, develop

a need statement that will require a system solution and that supports the problem you

identified. Use the “five whys” approach (asking ‘why’ up to five times) to ge t to the root

need for the system. To this end, develop a need statement according to the following


  • The need/opportunity is stated clearly and concisely
  • The need/opportunity is well defined and bounded
  • The deficiencies in the current approach or system are identified
  • The need/opportunity is stated in the domain of the stakeholder (not the system)
  • The need/opportunity is stated in the language of the stakeholder (not the designer)
  • The need/opportunity statement is solution free
  • The market opportunity is addressed
  • The overall statement includes supportive data
  • The need/opportunity is ‘real’
  • The need/opportunity has a well-defined paying customer
  • Stakeholders are identified or are easily identifiable from the statement
  • Meeting the identified need/opportunity will solve the problem
  • Next, identify the key stakeholders and their desire for the system. These are not formal

    requirements but reflect the ‘voices’ of the stakeholders in relation to the need/opportunity

    being addressed. Document this step using the following guidelines:

  • Comprehensive list of stakeholders includes payee, customer, user, maintainer,
  • trainer, etc.

  • Process used to gather stakeholder requirements is described, implemented as
  • described, and successful.

  • The diverse needs of the all the stakeholders are included in the requirements.
  • The stakeholder requirements are valid and accurate.
  • The stakeholder requirements are stated clearly and concisely.
  • The stakeholder requirements reflect the ‘Voice of the Customer/Stakeholde r’.
  • The stakeholder requirements are solution free.
  • The stakeholder requirements support the need/opportunity statement.
  • Next, develop two or three operational scenarios that describe how the system will be used in

    its operational state. For the operational scenarios, include a description of the physical

    environment, a general sequence of events, and how the ‘world’ will be different (hopefully

    better) with the use of the system.

    Also, create an objectives tree with one or two top objectives of the system.

    From these activities, develop an estimate of system operational effectiveness. Here, you

    should define measures of effectiveness (MoEs) and measures of performance (MoPs) that

    specify what results a new system should achieve to meet the identified need/opportunity,

    together with a list of system capabilities. Recall these are the two outputs of the needs

    analysis phase.

    Now that you have all the pieces for the body of the paper, write an introduction and add the

    body of the paper. In addition, convince the customer to allow you to continue to the next

    step of the concept development phase by including a summary that leverages all of the above,

    meets the requirements of the needs analysis phase as described in the lectures, and provides

    a justification for continuing on the path to the development of a new system. The paper

    should demonstrate understanding of the systems engineering life cycle. The body of the

    paper should be about 3-4 pages (not counting charts such as objectives tree, title page,

    reference list, etc.).

    Make sure to add a title page to your paper and include your references (on another page).

    Be sure to include the National Academy of Engineering website in your list of references,

    as feasible. Feel free to use an APA format or another citation format of your choosing.

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