David Long, then director of product development, tends to matters at the Vitech booth at the National Council of Systems Engineering in St. Louis in 1995.
Miriam Rich, Vitech Marketing & Communications Manager
This is Part I in an occasional series on the history of Vitech Corporation.
As a new year opens, Vitech Corporation anticipates celebrating a significant milestone: 25 years in business. It’s been a quarter century of growth that has paralleled the growth of systems engineering itself.
But it was a venture that almost didn’t happen. David Long, president of Vitech, founded the company in 1992. The undertaking which began as an undergraduate project has grown to become an enterprise with a product used by thousands across the globe. It all started rather by accident. More...
Zane Scott, Vitech Vice President of Professional Services
Those of us engaged in instruction, be it live or web-based, are often asked to provide “practical examples” of the principles and techniques we discuss. There is an intense desire to focus on application and avoid theory or concepts. The examples requested are deemed “practical” to the extent that they resemble the requester’s practice area. Rail system designers seek examples of rail systems. Missile designers want missile systems as examples. This seems practical and focused at first blush, but it disguises an underlying learning/teaching problem.
The problem is rooted in a struggle to establish a body of knowledge and the corresponding theoretical foundations of a systems engineering discipline. The history of the practice of systems engineering makes this struggle all the more difficult. Systems engineering arose in response to the need in the military/aerospace (mil/aero) sector for dealing with increasingly more complex problems and solutions in a rigorous and disciplined way. As the problem set began to demand solutions that crossed disciplinary boundaries, the need for an organized, comprehensive approach to designing and managing these solutions increased dramatically. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the arms and space races of the Cold War era. More...
By David Long, Vitech President
There is no doubt that systems engineering is growing. It is growing in applicability as the degree of complication and complexity rises across many different application domains – aerospace and defense, transportation, automotive, energy, medical, consumer products, and more. It is growing in importance as we seek to deliver value efficiently and effectively, free from unintended consequences. But as systems engineering grows, there is a groundswell of frustration as well – that what people call systems engineering is not really systems engineering at all.
This complaint has increasingly been raised in private discussions, small meetings, and public forums, and I share that sense of frustration. It is often framed in terms of individual practitioners and organizations performing “partial systems engineering” or “checklist systems engineering,” sometimes tinged with a sense of nostalgia for the early days of the practice. Rarely do I hear it framed in an “us versus them” mindset, but more often in a constructive question of how do we make good systems engineering more accessible to all those who could benefit from good application and good practice. More...