Systems Engineering Capability Assessment Method (secam)

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3.3Traceability Matrices

Each KFA has for convenience, an associated traceability matrix (see Appendix B) that relates the questions of a KFA to its general characteristics. These matrices also provide information on how each question has evolved during each update of the model. This information may be of value to organizations that wish to compare assessment results derived from this version of the model with assessment results obtained from earlier versions of the model. When a national standard for systems engineering is established, these matrices will also relate the questions within each KFA to the requirements for systems engineering as specified in the standard.


An attempt has been made, in the choice of words used in the INCOSE SECAM, to use terms that are recognizable and have the same meaning to all practitioners of systems engineering. However, English is a very rich language both in terms of numbers of words and synonyms; there is no uniformly established lexicon used across different products and applications for many professional disciplines, including systems engineering. Various industries employing systems engineering often use the same words with slightly different meanings. To assist in overcoming the semantical problems that arise through the choice of a given word for a particular concept, a Glossary has been provided at the end (Section 6) of the INCOSE SECAM. Words contained within the Glossary have been italicized in the text of the KFAs.

3.5Relationship to Other Standards

The INCOSE SECAM was developed to measure an organization's systems engineering capability. The SECAM references recognized systems engineering standards, such as the EIA 632 and IEEE-1220-1994, as the appropriate models of systems engineering to be used by the organization being assessed. SECAM coverage of the EIA 632 or IEEE-1220-1994 standards is provided in Appendix C. A mapping to ISO 9001 is also provided.

4Detailed Revision History & Participants

The INCOSE SECAM is in its sixth major update, denoted Version 1.50. This issue of Version 1.51 includes minor administrative corrections to Version 1.50 (Preliminary), which represented an improvement over its predecessor Version 1.40. Significant aspects regarding the development and application of the INCOSE SECAM are summarized in Figure 4.0-1. A detailed list of specific revisions is provided in Appendix A.

INCOSE views the SECAM as a “living document" (refer to Figure 2.1-1) that will be updated periodically based upon feedback and experiential data received from individuals and organizations that review and/or use the SECAM. The most significant feedback on the SECAM's utility and suggestions for its improvement are expected to originate from actual assessments performed on an organization's systems engineering activity using the model.

Pre-Version 1.00 - 1992-1993

Version 1.00 - February 1994

Version 1.10 - July 1994

Version 1.20 - November 1994

Version 1.30/1.31 - April 1995

Version 1.40 - July 1995

  • Integration

  • Verification

Version 1.41 (Preliminary) - Oct/Nov 1995, Jan 1996

Version 1.50 (Preliminary) - April 1996

Figure 4-1. SECAM Improvement Summary
Additionally, the INCOSE SECAM has been distributed to related working groups within the INCOSE Technical Board in order to receive their feedback and suggested improvements as to its content. The intent is to ensure that the model has the complete concurrence of INCOSE and to coordinate the development of products within INCOSE.

The INCOSE SECAM is currently not a validated model. Based upon a series of CAWG facilitated systems engineering process assessments (SEPAs) and self-assessments, the CAWG hopes to use the resulting experiential data and lessons learned to continually improve and update the INCOSE SECAM through successive numbered revisions. This process will potentially offer over a period of time, a degree of validation for the SECAM; additional avenues to facilitate validation of the SECAM are being explored by INCOSE.

In order to place the current version of the INCOSE SECAM in the proper context, it is necessary to digress briefly and discuss its previous versions. This discussion also provides some insight into future developments that are planned for the SECAM.

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