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A Systems Engineer Grows Up

by jsili

By Jeff Sili, Vitech Principal Systems Engineer

Silicon Valley icon and industrial designer Steve Jobs had a favorite dictum when he spoke to young audiences. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

By way of introducing myself, I’d like to take you along as I reflect on my journey through the wilds of systems engineering, an adventure that has brought me to where I am today—the newest team member in Professional Services at Vitech.

I’m Jeff Sili, and I’ve been a systems engineer for nearly three decades. I hail from the "Rust Belt" near Cleveland, Ohio and had a great time growing up in a big, blue collar neighborhood. The community was interesting and diverse—a place where first and second generation grandparents were still speaking languages like German and Italian. My dad was a machinist-mechanic, and he gave me my first taste of what it was like to "take it all apart and put it back together again." As a teenager in the ’70s, I watched the collapse of the economy in big cities like Cleveland, the demise of steel and other industries and with them, jobs. More...


Breaking Systems Engineering (and Three Ways to Bind the Fractures)

by dlong

By David Long, Vitech President

“The biggest errors are made on day one.” Sadly, those involved in systems engineering live this every day, but not necessarily in the manner we think. Though we strive to avoid this pitfall and address it in the systems we develop, the very way we approach our practice is often flawed. We break systems engineering from day one by our flawed practices, many times not even recognizing that we have done so.

In talks and tutorials, I frequently ask how many in the audience are applying a waterfall process. The general response is a hand or two timidly raised with the rest of the audience proudly asserting that they execute a spiral, incremental, or agile process – anything but waterfall. I then ask an individual “If I wanted to know about your requirements, who would I talk to?”  More...

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Categories: MBSE | Misc


The Power of Storytelling in Program Design

by fmccafferty

By Fran McCafferty, Vitech Principal Systems Engineer

One thing I have noticed over my years as a practicing principal systems engineer is that when program managers and technical leads can’t tell their story clearly, it’s because they aren’t clear about what they’re trying to accomplish.

Let me back up for a moment and introduce myself, since I’m a new blogger on these pages. I’m Fran McCafferty. I’ve recently joined Vitech as a Principal Systems Engineer. Although I’m new to Vitech, having just started on Nov. 28, I'm not new to systems engineering. My first systems engineering project was for GE Aerospace on the Strategic Defense Initiative program 30 years ago. In that role, I served as a subsystem lead systems engineer and as the program requirements manager, where I led the program effort in applying what we now know as model-based systems engineering.  More...

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Categories: Misc

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