Systems Engineering Glossary

Term Main definition

A time-based plan of milestones/ activities for performing work or achieving an objective.


A group of functionally related items in the system hierarchy.

Service Component Architecture (SCA)

A developer framework for building Service-Based Architecture services.  It provides both multi-protocol and multi-language support.

Service-Based Architecture (SBA)

The principles, structures, and methodologies for linking together loosely coupled systems/ services, typically through shared data or common logic/ direction.

Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

Principles, structures, and methodologies for linking together loosely coupled systems/ services, typically through shared data or common logic/ direction.  Also known as Service – Based Architecture.

Soft Systems Methodology (SSM)

An approach to solving complex, unstructured human problem situations based on holistic analysis and systems thinking.

Software Architecture

The structure or structures of a system comprised of software components.  The architecture identifies constraints, connections, and the relationships among the components including databases and potentially physical implications.

Software Architecture Document (SAD)

Documentation of a project’s architectural overview, architecture specifications, and design rationale.

Software Engineering

The application of a systematic approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software.

Software Requirements Specification (SRS)

An artifact of he definition process that contains all of the requirements for a software product.  It is the starting point for software architecting.

Specialty Engineering

Engineering discipline areas that focus on a specific aspect of a system rather than the whole, such as reliability, maintainability, cybersecurity, human factors, etc.


Requirements about which a buy or implementation decision has been made, usually described in a document that precisely defines the technical performance characteristics of a system or system component and the criteria for acceptance.

Spin Development

A software technique for evolutionary creation of a product (similar to agile development) using short development and delivery cycles.

Spiral Development

An incremental development process that matures capabilities prior to introduction to the implementation phase of a product.

Spiral Model

A conceptual model product development that illustrates iterative risk reduction activities prior to a linear-sequential implementation process.


An individual or group that can affect or may be affected by a given project, product, or activity.

Stakeholder Expectations

Needs, desires, capabilities, and constraints that are expressed by those who have a vested interest in the system.


A document that establishes criteria, methods, processes, and practices accepted by an approving organization.


A grouping of components within an element that perform a major and distinct function.

Success Criteria

The specific accomplishments that must be satisfactorily demonstrated in order to progress further in the life cycle.

Mission Statement

Strategy Bridge helps teams bridge the gap between plans and operating results through delivery of systems engineering and project management training, consulting, mentoring and facilitated workshops. Our success is gauged by our ability to foster positive, sustained, organizational change.

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