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Strategy Bridge

Systems Engineering Glossary

Term Definition

An inspection against a standard to determine adherence to policies, plans, requirements, and specifications.


A measure of degree to which an item is in an operable state and can be committed at the start of a mission when the mission is called for at an unknown (random) point in time.


An agreement at a given point in time that is under configuration control and used for measuring progress and as the basis for defining change.  The term itself is meaningful only when preceded by another noun that specifies the type of agreement (e.g., schedule baseline, cost baseline, requirements baseline, etc.).

Best Practice

A recognized approach or technique that experience and research have demonstrated to dependably lead to a desired result.

Bidirectional Traceability

An association among two or more logical entities that is detectable in either direction (i.e., to and from an entity).


A separation between the interior of a system of interest and what lies outside of it.

Business Activity Monitoring (BAM)

A tool that aggregates, analyzes, and presents real-time information to support informed business decisions and provides a common operating picture to stakeholders.

Business Process Management (BPM)

A cycle for creating, executing, and optimizing business processes.


A proposed or potential requirement that has not been validated or approved.


An expression of a system, product, function, or process’ ability to achieve a specific objective under stated conditions.

Capability Gap

A deficiency in the ability of an organization to meet mission and enterprise needs.

Capability Requirement

A high-level requirement that describes the capabilities necessary to satisfy a compelling need or capability gap.

Change Management Plan

A document that outlines processes and responsibility for change management procedures and baseline creation.  It outlines retention practices and describes Change Management tools and their use.

Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)

Commercially available items that do not require the procuring organization to perform modifications to meet requirements.


A unique element within a system of interest.


A possible approach to providing a required capability.

Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

A document describing how a system operates during the life cycle phases to meet stakeholder expectations.  It describes the system characteristics from an operational point of view, stimulating the development of requirements and architecture as they relate to users of the system.  The CONOPS provides the basis for system validation.  Sometimes referred to as the Operational Concept (OPSCON).


A documented agreement by the designated authority that a proposed course of action is acceptable.


The systematic evaluation, coordination, and disposition of proposed changes once a configuration baseline is established.

Configuration Audits

Periodic reviews of the hardware, software, databases, and firmware configuration items and their associated documentation, to verify consistency between the implemented solution and the documentation.