IMPLEMENTING A SYSTEMS ENGINEERING CULTURE WITHIN FEDERAL AGENCIES
Whitcomb, Clifford A.
Giles, Kathleen B.
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This paper examines the potential value of implementing a systems engineering culture within federal agencies to maximize returns on limited resources and provides recommendations for implementing a systems engineering culture within constraints of the agency environment. Prior to executing a culture change initiative, agencies must conduct planning and analysis activities to objectively determine whether a systems engineering culture is likely to bring expected return on investment. Existing case studies and research literature on systems engineering and public organizational culture were analyzed to create a comprehensive approach for the federal setting. Analysis shows that systems engineering application can provide significant return on investment for agencies with high levels of program and project complexity, if it is appropriately resourced and supported by a systems engineering–oriented culture. Due to the unique constraints of the public arena, implementing a systems engineering culture within federal agencies requires following a culture change implementation framework specifically formulated for the federal agency environment. Agency leadership engagement and active participation play a key role in successful culture change.
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