Conference Paper – The Helix Project: Understanding the Systems Engineers Who Support the US Department of Defense

Title:The Helix Project: Understanding the Systems Engineers Who Support the US Department of Defense

Publication Date 9/8/2013

Conference 2013 Annual conference


EXCERPT:
The Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) has begun the Helix Project to answer three questions about systems engineers from the US Department of Defense and defense contractors:

  • What are the characteristics of systems engineers?
  • How effective are systems engineers and why?
  • What are employers doing to improve their effectiveness?

One strong motivation for this research is the impending retirement of many systems engineers from the US defense workforce. This raises many questions. Will there be enough systems engineers left to achieve the planned missions? Will increasing the effectiveness of those remaining be able to close the gap left by those leaving? Additional research motivations include understanding how to ensure the workforce is effective in the face of major disruptions in process, technology, and mission.

Over five years, Helix will collect and analyze two forms of data: (1) enterprise-level anonymous data and (2) face-to-face in-person interviews with a cross-section of practicing systems engineers and those who work with them. Some of the same systems engineers will be interviewed periodically to see how their responses change over time, but most will only be interviewed once. Helix will regularly generate reports over five years as it accumulates an ever-richer set of data.

Researchers

Collaborators