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An Engineering Touchstone to Enable Successful Designs

Successful systems are created by engineers who understand and design to the ultimate objectives of the project. When we lose sight of those objectives we start making design decisions based on the wrong criteria and thus create sub-optimal designs. Scope creep, group think, and simple convenience are frequent causes of this type of variation. An effective design assessment tool is a touchstone by which we can evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing design decisions and keep the focus on the optimal solution.

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Agile Government Contracts

Agile is a popular and growing software development approach. It promotes a focus on the product rather than the project plan. This model is very attractive for many reasons and teams are adopting it across the defense industry. However, traditional government contracts and project management are entirely plan-driven. Can you really be agile in a plan-driven world?

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The Role of the Human Systems Integrator

This article is required reading for anyone who needs to hire, wants to become, or is going to be working with an HSI expert. Understand what the job entails, the key skills required, and how it relates to the rest of the systems engineering effort.

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Human Systems Integration: The Basics

Human systems integration (HSI) is a systems engineering function with the goal of optimizing system performance and cost across the entire system lifecycle. It ensures that the human elements of the system are given at least as much consideration as any other component across the entire project. HSI is a relatively new and often misunderstood term. Here are the basics:

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Why you should use a writing coach (even if you’re already a good writer)

My first grad school paper was a pretty straightforward assignment with a three-page limit. There was so much to the topic1 that I wrote five pages without even thinking about it. I thought it would be easy to pare down but, try as I might, I could not get it below the limit without removing key points. I was a decent writer and had even worked professionally as a technical author, but I was really struggling.

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Materiel

Materiel, more commonly matériel in US English

Wikipedia entry on “Materiel”

Materiel comes from the French, hence the accented e (which, despite the dictionary definitions cited by Wikipedia, isn’t commonly used in practice). Do a something search for the term and you’ll get a googol1 of results comparing the definitions of materiel and material, but nothing to help the curious engineer or budding acquisition professional understand the practical usage of the term.

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