As suggested by the organization chart of Figure 1.2, the Chief Systems Engineer (CSE) is the key manager of all the engineering work on the project. Thus, the CSE is both a technical contributor as well as a manager. Indeed, the CSE might well have twice as many direct reports as does the PM.
The CSE, under the PM, assumes primary responsibility for the technical performance of the system. In terms of time allocations, the CSE might experience 15% schedule, 15% cost, and 70% technical performance. The CSE has some administrative responsibilities, largely having to do with the management of the technical team. The CSE is definitely a systems engineer and should spend a great deal of energy in finding the correct technical solution for the customer.
The fact that both the PM and the CSE have, to some extent, overlapping responsibilities, suggests that it is critically important that these two people work together productively and efficiently. Friction between these key players will seriously jeopardize project success. They must communicate and share information extremely well, and understand each other's weaknesses and strengths. One-on-one meetings are standard so that potential problems are solved before they might hurt the efforts of the entire team. A summary list of the key responsibilities and duties of the Chief Systems Engineer is shown in Exhibit 1.3.
Exhibit 1.3: Ten Responsibilities and Duties of the Chief Systems
1. Establish the overall technical approach
2. Evaluate alternative architectural system designs
3. Develop the preferred system architecture
4. Implement a repeatable systems engineering process
5. Implement a repeatable software engineering process
6. Oversee use of computer tools and aids
7. Serve as technical coach and team builder
8. Hold technical review sessions
9. Attempt to minimize overall project time period
10. Develop cost-effective system that satisfies requirements
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.