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A system of systems

How the best laid plans within an organisation can be kept 'plane' and simple! By Mike Richardson.

If only the process of building an entire aircraft was as easy as putting together a model; just take the kit out of the box and follow the assembly instructions every step of the way. Work through each layer of the plastic parts to build the subassemblies, before finally assembling the sum of the aircraft’s parts into its whole. If you’ve followed the instructions correctly, then the finished model should bear more than a passing resemblance to its to its real world counterpart.
But imagine if you were building that same model kit with a group of people in different locations? Each person would need to work within an agreed system to ensure they were building their part of the assembly correctly. Each subsystem would need to be linked to the overall system to ensure each unit fits together to make one final assembly.
For any organisation, designing and building an electronic system with multiple components can increase the challenge manifold, especially when there are multiple design teams involved. The philosophy behind designing an entire system for an aircraft compared with separate assemblies requires the organisation to have a ‘system of systems’ to manage the disparate entities involved in ensuring they all meet the common goals.

Mike Richardson

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