System Engineering and Analysis

Zachman Framework
Richard Biehl
Text book: system Engineering and Analysis fifth edition by Benjamin S. Blanchard
The u01s6 and u01s7 assigned readings provide a history and overview of the Zachman Framework. While originally developed in the information technology field, the Framework offers a way to understand and evaluate the contents and effectiveness of engineering deliverables. The framework can be used to predict engineering perspectives and analysis that have been address by a team versus those that might have been missed. Missing “cells” in the upper framework will cause problems as a team progresses down the levels toward implementation.
As systems engineers, we tend to work on analysis and design that would be best described using cells in the upper two or three rows of the Framework. It’s sometimes referred to as 2 1/2 rows to emphasize that the discipline-specific engineers we hand off work to tend to start their work in the middle of the third row. As we work on more detailed components of our systems, we tend to hand-off more and more work to the discipline-specific engineering sub-teams who carry their portions forward. That doesn’t mean that systems engineering stops at the third tier. There are usually plenty of different aspects of the system that we carry forward ourselves even as larger and larger chunks of the work get allocated to the different disciplines. Among the things that we pursue right to the bottom of the Framework are various control issues as well as many of the validation issues. Those aspects, and others, stay as systems engineering issues even down to the implementation level of the Framework.
Discuss the way perspectives change between systems engineering and the discipline-specific engineering fields as a team works its way down the Framework. It’s been said that the models at the lower levels aren’t just more detailed versions of those higher up; but that the models at each level are distinct and serve different purposes for different audiences. Discuss the kinds of problems or issues that might arise if systems engineering perspectives are carried lower in the Framework than they should be; and conversely, if discipline-specific perspectives are introduced too high in the Framework. Does it makes sense that the usual transition between the two perspectives typically occurs through the third-tier models? Try to illustrate your thinking with examples.


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