Helix – Developing Effective Systems Engineers

Helix-logo


Principal Investigator:  Dr. Nicole Hutchison, Stevens Institute of Technology (Nicole.Hutchison@stevens.edu)

Timeframe:  October 2012 through January 2018

Category: Human Capital Development


HELIX - Atlas Graphic 2017 update

Click to view larger image


Description

 Objective:  To answer three research questions:

      1. What are the characteristics of systems engineers?
      2. How effective are systems engineers and why?
      3. What are employers doing to improve their effectiveness?

Based on the answer to those questions, develop and implement a theory to guide individuals and organizations in developing effective systems engineers.

Approach:  This is a multi-year longitudinal study of the SE workforces beginning with the DoD and defense contractors and extending beyond to other business sectors and organizations outside the US.

The primary mode of data collection is 90-minute face-to-face interviews with systems engineers representing a wide cross-section of the SE workforce. In addition, institutional data is collected from participating organizations to better understand the characterization, structure, organization, and improvement initiatives of the SE workforce. Subsequently, the interviewees participate in an hour-long follow-up interview by phone. A combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods is employed to analyze the data collected.
Through March 2015, more than 190 systems engineers from 13 participating organizations have been interviewed. Most of these interviewees have also participated in follow-up interviews.

A large dataset containing application information from individuals seeking professional certifications from INCOSE has been received. Data cleaning, mining and text processing techniques are being employed to analyze this data set.

The Helix team has used the data collected during the first two years of the project to develop Atlas v. 0.25: a theory to explain what makes systems engineers effective.  The team will refine, validate, and implement the model during the next phase of the Helix project.  This will be achieved through a personal and organizational assessment that mirrors Atlas during interviews with systems engineers both inside and outside the DoD and defense community and through implementation at an organization.

All reporting is done anonymously in an aggregated manner. Identities of the individual participant are not revealed, and findings cannot be traced back to individuals or their participating organizations.

Transition

Transition The DoD at large, and the participating organizations are expected to respond based on the value provided to them by this research. The findings are expected to help individual systems engineers to plan their careers in systems engineering, and to help organizations in developing an effective systems engineering workforce.

Publications

Publications:

Pyster, A., Rifkin, S., Henry, D., Lasfer, K., Hutchison, N., Gelosh, D., “The Helix Project: Understanding the Systems Engineers Who Support the US Department of Defense”, 2013 Asia Pacific Conference on Systems Engineering, September 8-11, 2013, Kyoto, Japan

Hutchison, N., Henry, D., Pyster, A., Pineda, R., “Early Findings from Interviewing Systems Engineers who Support the US Department of Defense”, 2014 International Council on Systems Engineering International Symposium, June 30-July 3, 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada

Henry, D., Hutchison, N., Pyster, A., Dominick, P., Lipizzi, C., Kamil, M., Manchanda, S. “Summary of Findings from the Helix Project (2013-14) – An Investigation of the DNA of the Systems Engineering Workforce,” National Defense Industries Association Systems Engineering Conference, Springfield, VA, October 27-30, 2014

Henry, D., N. Hutchison, A. Pyster. 2015. “Summary of Findings from the Helix Project (2013-2014): An Investigation of the DNA of the Systems Engineering Workforce.” Proceedings of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Systems Engineering Conference, October 29-November 1, 2014, Crystal City, VA.

Hutchison, N. and A. Pyster. 2015. “The Helix Project: Analysis of INCOSE SE Certification Program Applicants.” Presentation to the INCOSE Corporate Advisory Board, INCOSE International Workshop, January 2015, Los Angeles, CA.

Hutchison, N., D. Henry, A. Pyster, P. Dominick. 2014(b). “Systems Engineering Career Analysis: Supporting a Theory of Systems Engineers.” Proceedings of the Europe, Middle East, and Asia Sector Systems Engineering Conference, 27-30 October 2014, Cape Town, South Africa.

Hutchison, N., D. Henry, A. Pyster. 2014(a). “Early Findings from Interviewing Systems Engineers Who Support the US Department of Defense.” Proceedings of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) International Symposium, 30 June – 4 July 2014, Las Vegas, NV.

Lipizzi, C., S. Manchanda, M. Kamil, A. Pyster, D. Henry, N. Hutchison. 2015. “The Education Background of INCOSE Systems Engineering Professional Certification Program Applicants.” Proceedings of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) International Symposium, Seattle, WA, July 2015. (Accepted for publication)

Pyster, A. 2015. “The Helix Project: Analysis of INCOSE SE Certification Program Applicants.” Special Presentation to the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) Corporate Advisory Board (CAB), January 25, 2015 as part of the INCOSE International Workshop, January 25-27, Los Angeles, CA.

Pyster, A., N. Hutchison, D. Henry, C. Barboza. 2015. “Helix: What Makes Systems Engineers Effective?” Proceedings of the Conference on Systems Engineering Research (CSER), March 17-19, 2015, Hoboken, NJ.

Pyster, A., P. Dominick, D. Henry, N. Hutchison, C. Lipizzi, M. Kamil. 2014(a). Report on the First Helix Workshop: Exploring the Theory of Systems Engineers’ Effectiveness. Hoboken, NJ: Systems Engineering Research Center, Stevens Institute of Technology.

Pyster, A., D. Henry, N. Hutchison, C. Jauregui, J. Armstrong, M. Clifford. 2015. Report on the Second Helix Workshop: Exploring the Theory of Systems Engineers’ Effectiveness. Hoboken, NJ: Systems Engineering Research Center, Stevens Institute of Technology.

Pyster, A., R. Pineda, D. Henry, N. Hutchison. “Helix: Investigating the DNA of the Systems Engineering Workforce.” Proceedings of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Systems Engineering Conference, October 28-31, 2013, Crystal City, VA.

Pyster, A., S. Rifkin, D. Henry, K. Lasfer, N. Hutchison, D. Gelosh. 2013 “The Helix Project: Understanding the Systems Engineers Who Support the US Department of Defense.” Proceedings of the Asia-Pacific Council on Systems Engineering Conference (APCOSEC), September 8-11, 2013, Yokohama, Japan.

Accepted for Publication in 2016

Squires, A., Wade, J., Hutchison, N. 2016. “Building a Pathway to Systems Education for the Global Engineer.” To be published in the Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) 123rd Annual Conference, 26-29 June 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Jauregui, C., A. Pyster, D. Henry, N. Hutchison, and C. Wright. 2016. “Insights on the Experiences and Education of INCOSE-Certified Expert Systems Engineering Professionals and Chief Systems Engineers.” To be published in the Proceedings of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) 26th International Symposium, 18-21 July 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Research Team

Current Research Team: Dr. Nicole Hutchison, Megan Clifford, Ralph Giffin, Dr. Dinesh Verma and Sergio Luna

Past Research Team Members:   Dr. Peter Dominick, Dr. Deva Henry, Dr. Kahina Lasfer, Carlo Lippizzi, Dr. Ricardo Pineda, Dr. Art Pyster, Dr. Stan Rifkin, James Armstrong, Christina Jauregui, Monis Kamil, Shipra Manchanda, Devyani Totre, and Avichal Upadhyay

Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers