49004 Systems Engineering for Managers
Assessment Item 2- Individual Assignment 1.
This assignment aims to give you an opportunity to:
• Research and consider an issue of reasonable complexity using the concepts of
systems and systems thinking considered in class and your research;
• Apply tools and techniques considered in class to capture your thoughts and ideas on
the topic researched. Although the material relating to Causal Loop Diagrams is not
covered in lectures until week 4 of the semester, you can commence your research on
your allocated issue and CLD based upon the references provided and your own
search for sources.
Introduction and Requirements
Engineered systems seek to support successful missions of some kind. These missions are
based upon the needs and opportunities confronting some stakeholders. As any engineer
knows, the design of a system involves many trade-offs where decisions are made for
something and against another. Such trade-offs often result in compromises thatmarks
some aspects of the system at the expense of another. One of the many such aspects is
system reliability. Every system needs to be “reliable”. How reliable it must be depends
upon various factors. The required reliability is specified in the system specification. The
reliability achieved is often driven by many other factors, such as cost, available technology,
and so on. Often the system reliability is traded off against system maintainability.
Research the literature on Reliability and Maintainability to identify factors affecting the both
the specification and achievement of reliability through design, and how it might be affected
when the system is in use. In doing so, ensure that you also consider the tradeoff with system
maintainability. Consider how the factors interrelate so as to give rise to the need to trade-off
various aspects. Remember that many of the factors may not be “technical”, but social,
political and safety oriented. Remember to consider possible perspectives of various
stakeholders throughout the system lifecycle, not just those of the engineers designing the
system. You are not required to go into any mathematical or statistical depth for this
assignment. Your response should not require any mathematical treatment.
Create a detailed CLD to capture your findings. In view of your CLD, indicate the dominant
factors that one must consider when trying to specify reliability for a particular system.
Ensure that your response does not merely summarize the literature. Such a response will
not attract many marks.Notes:
• What I will be looking for in your responses is your application of the systems
thinking and of some tools of systems thinking.
• Ensure that all your sources of information are properly acknowledged – via in-text
referencing and through a reference list. Your references should belong to
scholarly literature and/ or be articles reported in the daily media. See the subject
outline for more information on referencing. The library provides very useful
guidance online. You are reminded of the UTS policy on plagiarism. Ensure that the
format and referencing in your response is in accordance with the guidelines
contained in the Subject Outline, and any specific directions herein.
• I will accept hand-drawn CLDs provided they are neatly drawn and labeled.
Material that cannot be read easily will not be marked.
• Marks will be deducted for incorrect spelling and grammar.
Length: A maximum of 4 A4 size, single sided, pages, not including diagrams and tables.
No appendices are allowed. Format must be as advised in the Subject Outline.
Due: See the Subject Outline.
Standard Mode Students: Hard copies (with appropriately signed coversheets) are to be
handed during the first 15 minutes of class. Ensure that your name and student identifier
appears on each page (header or footer). You also need to submit a soft copy into Turnitin,
using the link in the Assignments Submission folder in UTS Online. Remember to remove
the cover sheet from your submission into Turnitin.
Distance Mode Students: Submit soft copies (pdf) online. One copy for marking and one
into Turnitin, submitted as indicated in the Subject Outline.
References: (Available via the subject LRM eReadings – link in UTSOnline)
The following references may be helpful to you in understanding the CLD.
• Kirkwood, “System Behaviour and Causal Loop Diagram”,
• Sterman, JD, “Causal Loop Diagrams”
There are many good references on reliability in the library. Your subject textbook is a good
starting point. As well, you will find excellent sources on the Internet.
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