Monday, January 23, 2012

Engineering and our expanding -ilities

Engineering requires a clear understanding of the -ilities - - the desired properties of a system or product.  Historically our list of ilities have been the wide impacts that stakeholders have demanded - - things like quality, reliability, usability, and maintainability. 

The list of desired properties will continue to expand (and many properties may not end in ility!!).  Here is a list of the properties that may become increasingly important in the future - -
  • Usability or operability - - These are old ilities, but increasingly complex systems will require a greater focus and appreciation of human factors and ergonomics-type issues.
  • Flexibility - - The ability to change into different configurations that allow a particular system to perform multiple functions.
  • Extensibility - - The ability to take small networks and expand them into larger ones.
  • Resilience - - Not a pure ilities, but critical in a high-risk world.  Resilience is the degree to which a system can recover quickly from a major disruption while regaining - - or even exceeding - - its original level.
  • Interoperability - - A system property that allows a particular system or product to function independently in their own right but can also work together as a larger whole, even if they are owned and operated by different entities and were not designed originally to work together.
  • Compatibility - - How well components of the system can be connected and work together.
  • Modularity - - The ability to pull systems apart and then put them back together again.
  • Sustainability - - The capacity for a system to endure.  In the case of our earth system - - it is the long-term maintenance of responsibility (our very first ility!!).
Olivier L. de Weck, Daniel Roos, and Christopher L. Magee have a great book that covers this subject in much greater detail - - Engineering Systems: Meeting Human Needs in a Complex Technological World (2011).  The graphic in Chapter 4 (Figure 4.4) illustrates the correlation network of ilities - - very interesting!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.