Industrial stakes relative to System Engineering
Industrial projects are now conducted within ad hoc extended enterprises which bring together multiple partners around a convening project. Meanwhile, in big companies, inner relationships get contractualized. Both evolutions tend to abolish the distinction between a given department in a big company and a juridical autonomous organization in project management.
Each of these entities tackles the innovative Project it contributes to from its own perspective, according to its specific goals, its experience, its know-how and its resources. We commonly notice that the more a Project unfolds, the trickier it becomes to trace back the specifying and design artefacts (models, documents, prototypes...) to the different expectations and to the whole set of goals and constraints, which paradoxically, have generated them.
At design time, both economic and time saving considerations tend to substitute numerical design to the repetitive prototyping of the targeted end product in whole or in part. To prevent costly and time consuming trial and errors investigations which may eventually lead to deadlocks, it becomes of paramount importance to precisely define key intermediary configurations to be evaluated against specific stakes relative to well-identified points of view. This entails that any specifying or design element (model element, document item …) relative to one of the contributing approaches be scientifically regarded as a valid standalone reference, on its own, for evaluating some material entity, at any stage of the genesis of the product material stuff.
When looking at a new Product design processes, we may notice two main classes of considerations, one focusing on usage related goals achievement, the other on resources optimization. On one hand, each processing of some specific stake tackles the Product design from its own perspective. On the other hand, architectural activity tend to optimize (economically, technically, humanly, etc.) a solution through resource sharing, typically ECU, Human interfaces, … From competing points of view stems a complexity usual engineering practices hardly cope with as attest projects spinning out of control.
To live up to the stake of reconciling these different ways of considering a Product genesis, a scientific methodological framework that would conciliate the autonomy of the distinct constructive points of view and their necessary factorization in the Product, all the design process long, becomes more and more desirable. Pin pointing as soon as possible interferences and arbitrations to be made, generating automatically test vectors and verdicts traceable back to expectations out of design stuff, are likely to bring a decisive competitive edge in innovation driven approaches.
But what‘s the scientific background we may rely on? System Engineering is supposed to address this fundamental need, but has doing poorly so far, despite the amount of energy, time and money invested.