Systems Engineering for Projects



Book Title:  Systems Engineering for Projects: Achieving Positive Outcomes in a Complex World
Author: Lory Mitchell Wingate
Publisher:  CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group
List Price:  $150.00
Format:  Hard cover, 318 pages
Publication Date:  2019
ISBN: 13:978-0-8135-6295-1
Reviewer: Marc Crotty
Review Date: December 2022



The intersection of Systems Engineering (SE) and Program Management (PM) is seen in complex development efforts. These disciplines are key to “System of Systems” development. Less ambitious project management efforts employ SE and PM methodology, yet without the same degree of formality.

In response to complex development budget-breaking programs, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was an early adopter for SE methods. DoD utilizes its “Systems Engineering Guidebook,” most recently revised in February 2022. Likewise, NASA’s system engineering handbook supports their space missions that include man-rating criticality. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) derived its SE methodology from DoD. The DHS approach frames SE in the context of acquisition. They created the DHS 102-02 “Acquisition Management Directive”.

Each of these agencys’ guidebooks describes SE for product concept, development, test, deployment, and operation. System decommissioning is described as well.

These detailed SE processes are summarized and overlayed with Project Management Institute (PMI) concepts as presented in Lory Mitchell Wingate’s book, “System Engineering for Projects: Achieving Positive Outcomes in a Complex World”.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The author’s creativity and imagination are evident throughout this work. Seven of eight chapters use a Case Study to outline SE and PM processes. These studies include a Trans-Greenland and open sea expedition, robot competition, art and music endeavors, personal coaching, and creating a custom soap business. Endeavors of this sort are not what first come to mind for SE and PM. And yet, Ms. Wingate effectively overlays the described methodologies on the conduct of each case study.


The Systems Engineering Life Cycle (SELC) framework identifies activities for a structured and disciplined technical effort. Through this framework, products, processes, and the roles of people are defined and developed. A series of event-based technical reviews are identified to assess system technical readiness. Reviews are event driven, that is, conducted when system development (or acquisition) demonstrate sufficient maturity for progress review. Established entrance and exit criteria are review gatekeepers. The selected development methodology (waterfall or cyclical/iterative) and SELC activities to be performed determine required reviews.


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How to cite this work: Crotty, M. (2023). Systems Engineering for Projects: Achieving Positive Outcomes in a Complex World, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue II, February. Available online at: https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/pmwj126-Feb2023-Crotty-System-Engineering-for-Projects-book-review.pdf

About the Reviewer

Marc Crotty

Maryland, USA


Prior Silicon Valley electronic products and GPS development. Marc Crotty is currently consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton to the Veterans Administration “Electronic Health Record Modernization” Program for Infrastructure Site Readiness.  He can be contacted at mscrotty@gmail.com

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