Define a process within your organization for the consistent application of systems engineering methods

Florida DOT’s experience in adopting a systems engineering process.

Tallahassee,Florida,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Formalizing their Statewide SEMP was a major step in providing clear organizational direction for the development of ITS projects to their project staff, consultants, and contractors. Some of the lessons learned in the development and implementation of the SEMP include:
  • Define an organizational process for systems engineering to help provide project partners with a baseline for the consistent application of systems engineering practices. Make the organizational process publicly available and reference it in contract documents to be sure that consultants and contractors are aware of associated expectations.
  • Provide those developing ITS projects with good practical examples that demonstrate the application of SE processes. Methods for employing SE processes can be fairly structured and that structure is not always intuitive. Florida is in the process of including a section in their SEMP that provides good examples of applied SE practices.
  • Reference SE documentation appropriately. Subsequent SE documentation builds on baseline SE documentation, so it is critical to reference all baseline documents for continuity of original project expectations. If baseline documents are incorrect, then the follow-on documents will be incorrect. That is one reason why configuration management is stressed in SE.
  • Bring construction and maintenance personnel, consultants and contractors into the SE training process. Involving all project partners in the SE training process helps to make certain that those involved with the project will be on the same page and be able to achieve the expected project goals and objectives.
  • Do not unnecessarily complicate your application of SE. Systems engineering tools are relatively scalable for individual projects (e.g., smaller projects/systems require fewer system requirements).

Florida found in the past that not having a defined approach to the development and management of ITS projects resulted in a lack of consistent oversight and control of the technical elements of these projects. Systems engineering is a process known for aiding in the control of cost, schedule, and technical performance of complex systems. Formalizing a defined organizational process for SE is one example of how Florida is providing a shared vision of ITS project development and management, and providing the direction necessary to successfully control project activities and verify system performance.

Florida's work fosters ITS goals of increasing customer satisfaction and improving productivity. Systems engineering is a user-needs driven process and provides tools to measure user/customer satisfaction. In addition, SE practices are designed to simplify complex processes while maximizing work productivity.

Lesson Comments

"With the help of Telvent-Farradyne Inc., we added the ITS Systems Engineering Analysis requirements to the Alaska Highway Preconstruction Manual. Recently, we updated the requirements to be a "part" of the Design Study Report (DSR) and Project Management Plan (PMP) rather than creating a separate section and making it appear as if the SEA requirements for ITS Projects were an add-on. One of the major complaints about the SEA requirements is that it's additional work, when in fact most of the SEA process is part of what they have already been doing in the DSR and PMP. Incorporating the SEA process this way will help generate more support from our Design & Engineering section. "

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Florida's Statewide Systems Engineering Management Plan

Author: Pam Hoke, PBS&J

Published By: Florida Department of Transportation, Traffic Engineering and Operations Office, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Section

Source Date: 3/1/2005

URL: http://www.floridaits.com/SEMP/Files/PDF_Report/050315_D1-10_V2.pdf

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Contact(s):

Gene Glotzbach
Florida Department of Transportation State Traffic Engineering and Operations Office
(850) 410-5616 

Agency Contact(s):

Chung Tran
FHWA, Florida Division

Lesson Analyst:

Dawn Hardesty


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Lesson ID: 2006-00284