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Unformatted text preview: in the first paragraph above. In this handbook, system"
is generally used in its generic form.
The NASA management instruction for the
acquisition of “major" systems (NMI 7120.4) defines a
program as “a related series of undertakings that
continue over a period of time (normally years), which
are designed to pursue, or are in support of, a focused
scientific or technical goal, and which are characterized
by: design, development, and operations of systems."
Programs are managed by NASA Headquarters, and
may encompass several projects.
In the NASA context, a project encompasses the
design, development, and operation of one or more systems, and is generally managed by a NASA field center.
Headquarters' management concerns include
not only the engineering of the systems, but all of the
other activities required to achieve the desired end.
These other activities include explaining the value of
programs and projects to Congress and enlisting
international cooperation. The term mission is often
used for a program proThe Technical Sophistication Required to do
Systems Engineering Depends on the Project
• The system's goals may be simple and easy to
identify and measure—or they may be technically
complicated, requiring a great deal of insight about
the environment or technology within or with which
the system must operate. • The system may have a single goal—or multiple
goals. There are techniques available for
determining the relative values of multiple goals —
but sometimes goals are truly incommensurate and
unquantifiable. Every system exists in the context of a broader
supersystem, i.e., a collection of related systems. It is in
that context that the system must be judged. Thus,
managers in the supersystem set system policies,
establish system objectives, determine system
constraints, and define what costs are relevant. They
often have oversight authority over system design and
operations decisions. • The system may have users representing factions
with conflicting objectives. When there are
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