A Quick Peek Over a Day in Our Life
To start with a statement, a clear view of: the System Engineer is the one who is leading the entire projects technical development, therefore standing side by side with the project leader, complementing him.
So, the Systems Engineer becomes a point of convergence of the various expert’s opinions, recommendations and interests. All only seeing chunks of the entire problem, and trying to impose their perceived best solution. Here comes the Systems Engineer’s role in comprising the problem in it’s entire complexity as a whole, assuring that different pieces are still working together as well as possible within the project’s given constraints.
These being said, the System Engineer becomes a kind of a hub, having to cope with different responsibilities and constraints, to ensure the “right” final implementation:
He’s directly visible by the entire project team, having to align different discipline’s developers, testers, quality, project management … as well as by the customer. He’s the one having to clarify, negotiate and translate the customer needs into solutions that can be implemented by the team within the given cost and time budget. Of course, working in close cooperation with the project management.
Employs systematic techniques in approaching and analyzing problems for finding the best solutions, assign to or distributes the implementation over different (sub-)components, thus targeting the best engineering compromise.
Also related to the previous, he identifies and handles the impact factors, find and solves conflicts on the projects contradicting requirements, all for the working of the SYSTEM as a whole.
Managing interaction with people and their nature to enhance collaboration and their interest for contributing to the project. After all, people that build together the actual product matter the most.
In my opinion, the most important job of the System Engineer can be likened to a glue binding together the entire technical implementation of the system, ensuring that the needs, concepts, defined solution and the workings of all people are all consistent and pushing the project in the same right direction.