Integrating Program Management, Systems Engineering, and Six Sigma

As systems engineering and program management has evolved since World War II, missions have to be achieved within the constraints of cost, schedule and expected performance.  Systems engineering is attempting to describe and define the optimal solution while program management is attempting to determine the necessary work components and develop the plan.  Both are keys to the success of a program.  Bringing these two disciplines together with a common success measure requires the integration of functions within programs.  The starting point of improved integration is a foundational understanding of each discipline.  Integration is a reflection of the organizational ability to combine program management and systems engineering in a collaborative and systematic approach in the face of challenges.  Six Sigma is widely used in industries.  A comparative analysis of systems engineering to Six Sigma is presented.  Those taking this unique course will learn how to apply systems engineering processes, tools, methods and techniques on program management’s organizing and staffing, planning, performance measurement, decision, and cost control; this includes how to execute an accurate Earned Value Management System (EVMS) and how to support Six Sigma execution.  

Agile program management and lean six sigma are today’s popular subjects. The pros and cons of agile vs non-agile program management, agile vs non-agile systems engineering, and lean vs six sigma implementation will be discussed in this course.  Program managers tool kit will also be referenced in this course.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the needs of program management and systems engineering integration.
  • Learn how to staff and develop program/project organizational structure, recommended by a systems engineering approach.
  • Learn how to plan a program/project using systems engineering approach in requirements/specification development, building Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), deriving IMP (Integrated Master Plan)/IMS (Integrated Master Schedule), and defining various levels of project baselines.
  • Learn how to measure program/project performance using systems engineering technical performance measurement and technical reviews and audits processes and methods.
  • Learn how to make good program/project decisions using systems engineering decision analysis processes and methods.
  • Learn how to build work packages utilizing the WBS and organizational structure per systems engineering processes for an accurate Earned Value Measurement System (EVMS).
  • Learn how to use the systems engineering methods and tools to support Six Sigma.
  • Learn to make correct decision to use agile or non-agile program management; and agile or non-agile systems engineering.
  • Learn to distinguish between lean and six sigma; and the environment where the advantages can be taken to combine lean and six sigma.

Who Should Attend

This course will be of interest to systems engineers, program/project managers, engineers, manufacturing professionals, software engineers, Information Technology Specialist, educators and other professionals that need to learn how to integrate program management, systems engineering and six sigma.

Course Information:
Type of Course: Instructor-Led Short Course
Course Level: Fundamentals/Intermediate
Course Length: 2-4 days
AIAA CEU's available: Yes

  • Introduction
    • System Thinking ….  In-think, and examples
    • The needs of integration
    • Understanding systems engineering functions, agile vs non-agile.
    • Understanding program management functions, agile vs non-agile.
    • Understanding lean and six sigma
    • High synergy between program management, systems engineering and six sigma
  • Program/Project Staffing
    • Human basis integration
    • Team organization, development, and maintenance
  • Organizational Structure
    • Select an organizational structure using a systems engineering approach
  • Program/Project Planning
    • The project specifications
    • The work breakdown structure (WBS)
    • The milestone schedule
    • Project Baselines
  • Program/Project Performance Measurement
    • Technical performance measurement
    • Non-technical performance measurement
    • Technical reviews and audits
  • Program/Project Decision
    • Trade studies processes and methods
    • Decision tree analysis
  • Cost Control
    • Work packages developed from WBS and organizational structures
    • Present Earned Value Measurement System (EVMS)
    • EVMS basis
    • Systems engineering approach leading to accurate EVMS
    • Current practices leading to erroneous EVMS
  • Six Sigma Overview
    • What is Six Sigma
    • Six Sigma roadmap
    • Discuss Lean
    • The environment where Lean and Six Sigma can be combined  
  • Systems Engineering vs Six Sigma
    • Design for Six Sigma (DFSS)
    • Systems Engineering supports Six Sigma
  • Calls to Action
    • Embrace changes and the path forward
    • The applicability of Six Sigma


John C. Hsu, Ph.D., P.E., AIAA Fellow, ESEP (INCOSE), implemented the first break-through systems engineering (SE) application and a pioneer in developing and establishing SE process, metrics, templates, methods, and tools for the Boeing Company.  He serves as an Adjunct professor at the California State University Long Beach teaching SE and engineering management graduate courses, The University of California at Irvine Certification Program, AIAA professional development short courses, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor and Honorary Professor of Queens University.  He has over 40 years of diversified experience in systems engineering, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, software development, and engineering management, mainly worked at The Boeing Company, as Technical Manager, Project Manager, and Principal Investigator.  John has created and taught five other systems engineering courses at AIAA conference: Systems Engineering Fundamentals, System Requirements Engineering, Systems Engineering Verification and Validation, Decision Analysis, and Network Centric Systems Engineering and Architecting.  John earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, M.S. in Nuclear Engineering, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a registered Professional Engineer.


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