As the systems engineering realm becomes ever more dynamic, the need for a more flexible and rapid moving process is required. Systems engineering, in relation to software development, has successfully adopted agile principles to improve efficiency. However, systems engineering involving hardware elements have yet to efficiently adopt these principles. This research addresses the development of agile methodologies and principles and their application to the systems engineering lifecycle process. Agile principles provide iterative development, continuous integration, collective ownership, test driven design, and feedback on system development. In this dissertation, a modified systems engineering process is introduced, for programs with both hardware and software elements, that incorporates agile principles. The modified process was developed using literature review and case study analysis on a myriad of systems engineering projects, including manufacturing, software intensive systems, and integrated hardware/software systems. Through literature review and case study analysis the research will show that the application of these principles to the systems engineering process, on hardware/software programs, can provide much needed flexibility in an ever-growing dynamic environment. Expert judgment from systems engineering practitioners is used to validate the findings. Results from the research shows that practitioners believe that the implementation of these principles to the systems engineering lifecycle process allow for development time to be reduced, effectiveness to be improved, and user/customer satisfaction to be increased.
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