Panel: The Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge

Time: Tuesday, September 29, 13:00 - 14:45
Room: Bramante 11

The Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge

  • Dr. Dick Fairley, Systems Engineering Associates (S2EA) & IEEE Computer Society, US (Panel Chair)
  • Senior lecturer Rick Adcock, Cranfield University, UK, SEBoK Editor-in-Chief
  • Dr. Emma Sparks, Cranfield University, UK, SEBoK Editor Part 5

Systems Engineering is a young discipline in the history of engineering, and it is still in the process of establishing its knowledge area when compared to many other engineering disciplines. Establishing the knowledge not only involves gathering the knowledge of the discipline, both also the establishment of methods for capturing, processing and disseminating the knowledge. A body of knowledge is all about capturing and presenting knowledge such that is can be made easily available and shared. The Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK; is a relatively new endeavour to create a guide to the breadth and depth of Systems Engineering related knowledge. Published in 2012 in a Wiki format, the SEBoK is currently being actively reviewed and updated by the professional societies with an interest in the discipline of SE. This includes both INCOSE and the IEEE. This session will provide a brief overview of the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge and via a panel debate cover the following topic questions:
  • What is the current state of the SEBoK and what is its role in larger context of Systems Engineering? 
  • How do you see the relationship between the SEBoK and the INCOSE Systems Engineering handbook and the ISO/IEEE Standard 15288. Are they complementary, cohesive, or conflicting?
  • What is the future of the SEBoK and what are the imminent aspects to focus on?


The chair will introduce the topic and selected panellists will present their positions on the topic questions above. The provisional panel members represent the current SEBoK Editorial Board and represent different aspects of the questions. There will be a short time for questions for each panellist. At the end of the panel, position statement the chair will call for questions to the panel from the audience. It is for the questioner to address individual members or the entire panel, but the time spent on each individual question is at the discretion of the chair. We will aim to have at least 40 minutes for questions from the audience across the session as a whole. Finally, the chair will close the discussion and provide a brief summary of the panel discussion. 

Panelist Bios:
Dr. Richard E. (Dick) Fairley is founder and principal associate of Software and Systems Engineering Associates (S2EA), a firm specializing in consulting services and training in software systems engineering, analysis and design, software project management, cost estimation, project planning and control techniques, software risk management, and software process assessment and improvement. He is also an adjunct professor of computer science and engineering at Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he teaches graduate courses in project management, process engineering, requirements engineering, metrics and risk management, and software architecture and design. Dr. Fairley is an IEEE Computer Society delegate to BKCASE and a member of the BKCASE Board of Governors. He is also chairman of the IEEE Computer Society’s Software Engineering Committee and the Special Technical Committee on Systems Engineering.

Rick Adcock has 20 years’ experience in defence, working in industry, consultancy and academia. He joined Cranfield University at the Defence Academy of the UK in 2000 to help set up Systems Engineering courses to support defence acquisition reforms. Rick was Head of the Centre for Systems Engineering, at the Defence Academy College of Management and Technology from 2006 to 20012 and chair of a Master’s programme in Systems Engineering for Defence Capability. He currently delivers a number of courses for the centre, both in the UK and internationally, and is engaged in doctoral research on Systems Engineering Competencies and Education. Rick has been a member of INCOSE for 20 years and is currently INCOSE Associate Director for education. He was a lead author on the BKCASE Project (, which created a Body of Knowledge (and associate Reference master Curriculum) for Systems Engineering. Rick is the current BCASE Editor in Chief.

Dr. Emma Sparks is the Head of the Centre Cranfield University for Systems Engineering at Cranfield Defence and Security, Shrivenham. Responsible for strategic direction and management of a team of people conducting delivery of the Systems Engineering portfolio across teaching, research and consultancy for Cranfield Defence and Security. Emma is a Systems Engineer specialising in human systems. She has a doctorate and masters in Systems Engineering for Defence and a BSc (Hons) in Sports Science from Chichester. Before joining Cranfield University at Shrivenham, Emma worked for five years as a research scientist within the Defence Clothing and Textiles Agency and latterly as Technical Lead for future soldier systems at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. In September 2005 Emma Joined Cranfield University as a lecturer providing education for post graduate students from industry, government and overseas, along with support to a number of military courses which run at the Shrivenham site and bespoke short courses for overseas organisations and government, specialising in systems thinking, enterprise architecture and more recently Human Factors Integration. She gained her Post Graduate Certificate in Learning, Teaching and Assessment for Higher Education, which underpins her additional role as the Course Director for the SEDC MSc applying educational best practice to continue to shape the course for the future. Emma is internationally published and has worked extensively with overseas organisations, most notably the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Adelaide. She is a member of INCOSE and the IET, for which she is applying for chartership.

Panel: Systems Engineering and Software Engineering


Download the Slides

Time: Wednesday, September 30, 13:45 - 15:30
Room: Bramante 11
Systems Engineering and Software Engineering



Systems engineers increasingly interact with software engineers as systems project and programs become ever larger, more complex, and more dependent on software. Issues of concern about collaboration are addressed in the systems engineering body of knowledge (, the graduate reference curriculum for systems engineering (GRCSE:, the software engineering competency model (SWECOM:, ISO/IEC/IEEE Standard 15288 (systems engineering) and ISO/IEC/IEEE Standard 12207 (software engineering), and other relevant standards and guidelines.  This panel session will focus on the role of software engineering in systems engineering as presented in the cited standards and guidelines, and in practice.  Strategies and techniques will be discussed on how systems engineers and software engineers can better integrate their work activities.

Panelist Bios:
Richard E. (Dick) Fairley, PhD is Principal Associate of Software Engineering and Management Associates (S2EA), a consulting and training company.  He is also chair of the Software and Systems Engineering Committee of the IEEE Computer Society and a Computer Society delegate to the governing board of BKCASE.  His professional and research interests include software systems engineering, project management, and process improvement. He is a member of IEEE, the IEEE Computer Society, INCOSE, and PMI.  Dr. Fairley is the organizer and chair of this panel session.

Massood Towhidnejad, PhD is a professor of software engineering and director of the Next-Generation Applied Research Lab (NEAR Lab) at Embry Riddle Aeronautic University.  He was a contributing author to the Software Engineering Competency Model (SWECOM), the Graduate Reference Curriculum for Systems Engineering (GRCSE), and the Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge (SEBoK). He is a member of the governing board for BKCASE.  His professional and research interests include software and systems engineering and systems engineering and autonomous systems and air traffic management (NextGen).  Dr. Towhidnejad is a senior member of IEEE.

Mary Jane Willshire, PhD is an Affiliate Faculty member of Regis University and an Adjunct Faculty member of Capella University. She was a contributing author to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK V3) and the Software Engineering Competency Model (SWECOM).  She is a member of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board and an ABET Computing Accreditation Commission commissioner.  Her professional and research interests include Software Engineering, Human Computer Interface Design, and curriculum development.  Dr. Willshire is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).