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Strategy Bridge

Systems Engineering Glossary

Term Definition

Operational and support (typically referred to as non-functional) requirements that include availability, maintainability, reliability, and supportability.

Acceptable Risk

The risk that is understood and agreed to by the program/ project manager, governing authority, and other stakeholders and requiring no further mitigation activity.


The act of acquirer’s authorized representative to assume ownership of the items after verification.

Acceptance Test

A series of tests conducted in accordance with the approved plan and test procedures that are witnessed by the acquirer’s representative.  Results are audited during the Functional Configuration Audit (FCA).


The entity acquiring goods or services.


The acquiring of goods or services by contract.


A task that consumes resources and has a time duration.


A technical development strategy characterized by frequent, incremental deliveries of value.  The requirements and architecture for a system of interest are allowed to evolve as development progresses, rather than attempting to fully define them at the beginning of development.  This is sometimes called spin development.

Allocated Baseline

The approved functional and interface characteristics that are allocated from higher level requirements to configuration items for development.


The apportionment or assignment of a requirement to items in the architecture.


A verification technique involving a process, which may include computer modeling, to determine compliance with specifications where test, demonstration, or inspection is not feasible.

Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)

A formal decision-making technique that compares alternative options to estimate the ability of the options to satisfy requirements.  Also called a Trade Study.

Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)

A multi-attribute decision analysis methodology that uses hierarchical decomposition and pair-wise comparisons.


A documented authorization by a designated official to move forward with a recommended course of action.

Architectural Design

The activity of specifying the constituent elements of a system of interest to include: responsibilities, properties, and interfaces, and how they relate and interact with each other.


The framework of a system’s constituent elements, showing how they relate to one another and their environment.

Architecture Descriptions

Representations of the architecture in views from various perspectives.  An architecture view is a graphical or textual description/ representation of the functions, tasks, activities, operational elements, data, information flows, systems, interconnections, and relationships that make up the architecture.

Architecture Framework

A set of tools, vocabulary, and standards for showing how the building blocks of a system fit together.


A system element consisting of an integrated set of components and/or subassemblies that form a distinct portion of a subsystem.


The activity of identifying and analyzing project information to determine the likelihood of meeting cost, schedule, and technical objectives.