Systems Engineering Capability Assessment Method (secam)




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4.3Version 1.20


At the October 1994 meeting of the CAWG, a further improvement of the INCOSE SECAM was initiated. The CAWG participants in the model refinement effort reviewed: (1) the remaining suggested improvements from the aforementioned SEPAs that were not included in Version 1.10. (2) the results of an extensive analysis of the Version 1.10 conducted at Computer Sciences Corporation under the leadership of Dr. Bill Mackey, and (3) additional comments from other individuals on Version 1.10.

The INCOSE SECAM, Version 1.20, was considered by the CAWG to represent a significant improvement over its predecessor, Version 1.10:



  • Version 1.10 contained several key focus areas (KFAs) that were considered only partially satisfactory. These KFAs were strengthened in Version 1.20 through the incorporation of additional suitable goals and/or additional questions. Version 1.20 no longer contains any KFAs which are considered by the CAWG to be only partially satisfactory. Consequently, Version 1.20 provides a more “balanced" perspective across each of its KFAs.

  • A new KFA entitled “System Concept Definition" was incorporated into Version 1.20 along with appropriate goals and questions. This increases the total number of KFAs to sixteen. The new KFA was incorporated in order to more completely reflect the scope of the systems engineering process.

  • During the review of Version 1.10, a small number of questions were identified which were inappropriate to the KFA or level within a KFA. These questions were moved or deleted as appropriate, in Version 1.20.

  • The glossary of Version 1.20 was improved over Version 1.10.

Version 1.20 of the INCOSE SECAM was primarily due to the joint efforts of the following people:

  • Blake Andrew Rockwell Collins Air Transport Division

  • LeRoy Botten Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Vic Church Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Dennis Crehan Loral Aerosys

  • Raymond Granata NASA, Goddard

  • Joe Ludford Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Bill Mackey Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Stephan Mayer Allied Signal

  • Bill Oran Allied Signal

  • Steven Senz GTE

  • Bruce Shelton Systems Management Development Corp.

  • Jesse Silver Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Antonio Vallone Computer Sciences Corporation

  • George Van Nostrand Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Roger Werking Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Rich Widmann Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

4.4Version 1.30/1.31


The third update of the INCOSE SECAM, designated Version 1.30/1.31, was based upon (1) the incorporation of a series of traceability matrices first presented in the October 1994 meeting of the CAWG and (2) some minor observations from the CAWG facilitated SEPA at the Westinghouse, Hanford Facility.

During the week of 6 February 1995, the CAWG facilitated a SEPA at Westinghouse, Hanford Facility, in Richland, WA. The CAWG team was lead by Mr. Blake Andrews (Rockwell International) and assisted by Doug Low and Rich Widmann (both of Hughes Aircraft Company). The Westinghouse SEPA Team Leader was Mr. John Blyler. The SEPA was conducted using Version 1.20 of the INCOSE SECAM, with supporting documents updated to Version 1.2X (X=0, 1, or 2). During the SEPA, a number of observations were made regarding Version 1.20 of the INCOSE SECAM. Some of these minor observations were incorporated into Version 1.30/1.31 of the INCOSE SECAM, dated April 1995.

The INCOSE SECAM, Version 1.30/1.31 represents an improvement over its predecessor version, 1.20, as follows:


  • The incorporation of a series of traceability matrices, one for each KFA. Each traceability matrix provides the relationship between the questions and the goals contained within a KFA. The traceability matrices were created by Leroy Botten and verified by Bill Mackey (both of Computer Sciences Corporation).

  • A strengthened introduction to the environment and tools support KFA provided by Doug Low.

  • The addition of two questions to the Training KFA under 9.2 entitled “Ability to perform" by Blake Andrews.

  • A revised introduction was provide by Rich Widmann.

  • Glossary definitions provided by Richard Pariseau, Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division


4.5Version 1.40


The fifth release (fourth update) of the INCOSE SECAM, designated Version 1.40, represented the most significant improvement of the model to date. Version 1.40 was also the most widely contributed to and reviewed version of the model, prior to publication, of any of its predecessor versions. Within the systems engineering community, attempts were made to gain as broad a cross section as possible of both contribution (authorship) and review of the model.

Every key focus area (KFA) within the INCOSE SECAM was improved. For nearly every KFA, most of the introductory descriptive text was rewritten; many goals were reworded, and where applicable, some additions/deletions to goals were made; and the number of questions was increased and the wording of individual questions changed to be more reflective of the nature of the KFA. In addition, the phrasing of the content of each KFA was changed to place it into “one voice" to overcome the previous “many voices" that existed in previous versions of the INCOSE SECAM.

The KFA structure of the INCOSE SECAM was expanded. The System Integration and Verification KFA was split into two separate KFAs and a System Validation KFA was added; thereby increasing the total number of KFAs from sixteen to eighteen. The increase in the number of KFAs, which occurred in the Systems Engineering Process Category, provided a more “balanced" overall structure to the INCOSE SECAM -- there are now seven KFAs in both the Management Process Category and Systems Engineering Process Category.

The numbering structure of the KFAs was changed from the former “flat" structure to a hierarchical structure representative of the relationship between the individual KFAs and their respective Process Categories. The new numbering structure has the added benefit of facilitating the ease of addition or deletion of KFAs within the INCOSE SECAM. Within each KFA, the grouping of questions under common headings representing increasing levels of capability has been maintained, however, the names of the common headings has been changed to reflect a better alignment with the ISO SPICE maturity levels.

Process improvement of the particular process representative of each KFA was refined and strengthened. Additionally, the Process Management and Improvement KFA (renamed from the former Process Management KFA to better reflect its content) was strengthened significantly to further reinforce both the management of systems engineering process and improvements to the process.

The INCOSE SECAM (Version 1.40) resulting from the above changes is balanced in terms of content across KFAs, consistent in terms of content within ascending maturity levels within each KFA, and has a vastly increased depth and breadth of systems engineering technical richness. The significant improvements to and intense review of this version of the INCOSE SECAM has strengthened its content and structure to the point where it can truly be described as “a model developed by systems engineers to assess (measure) systems engineering process".

The improvements that resulted in this updated version of the INCOSE SECAM were based primarily upon: (1) recommendations arising out of the CAWG facilitated SEPA at the Westinghouse Hanford Facility, (2) a number of systemic improvements proposed by Ken Crowder (Boeing Information and Support Services Corporation), (3) a significant re€write of selected KFAs, based upon the above, at the 20 April 1995 meeting of the CAWG, (4) a significant re€write of selected KFAs subsequent to the April 1995 CAWG meeting based upon the procedures adopted and followed at that meeting, and (5) comments provided by reviewers of the improved KFAs.

Version 1.40 of the INCOSE SECAM was considered to represent a significant improvement of over its predecessor Version 1.30/1.31 with regard to the following:



  • The nomenclature used to identify capability levels within each KFA was changed to reflect alignment of the model with ISO SPICE conventions.

  • A general strengthening of all KFAs was performed based upon a general systemic approach proposed by Ken Crowder. Using this proposed approach (with slight modifications by Rich Widmann and Blake Andrews), many of the KFAs were updated during the 20 April 1995 meeting of the CAWG; those KFAs updated subsequent to the meeting were changed in a manner consistent with the approach taken during the meeting.

  • A reÐphrasing of many of the questions within each KFA was performed by Blake Andrews and Rich Widmann to place the INCOSE SECAM into “one voice", thereby eliminating the “many voices" of the previous versions of the model.

  • The Planning, Tracking and Oversight, Subcontract Management, Inter-group Coordination, and Configuration Management KFAs were strengthened by Ken Crowder. The Planning KFA was further strengthened by Bob Lightsey. The Tracking and Oversight KFA was further strengthened by Mike Gross. The Inter-group Coordination KFA was further strengthened by Steve Tavan and Tom Bachand.

  • The Tracking and Oversight KFA was further updated to reflect work done by the Metrics Working Group of the INCOSE. Specifically, this KFA now addresses metrics classified as technical performance measures, planning and control metrics, and systems engineering process metrics.

  • A major re-write and strengthening of the Risk Management KFA was performed by Rich Widmann. George Friedman, Bob Lightsey, and Bob Olson further strengthened this KFA.

  • The Process Management and Improvement KFA was strengthened by George Friedman, Mike Townsend, Steve Tavan, and Tom Bachand.

  • A major re-write and strengthening of the Training KFA was performed by Art Stone. John Blyler further strengthened this KFA.

  • A major re-write and strengthening of the Environment and Tool Support KFA was performed by Doug Low. Brian McCay further strengthened this KFA.

  • The System Concept Definition KFA was strengthened by Dave Olson and Mike Gross.

  • The System Requirements KFA was strengthened by Dave Olson, Mike Gross, and Ken Crowder.

  • The System Design KFAs was strengthened by Dave Olson and Ken Crowder.

  • The System Integration and Verification KFA was divided into two separate KFAs. The new System Integration KFA and System Verification KFA both underwent a major re-write and strengthening by Rich Widmann. The System Integration KFA was further strengthened by Steve Tavan, Tom Bachand, and Charles Baird.

  • A new System Validation KFA was created by Blake Andrews.

  • New traceability matrices were created for the new KFAs. Existing traceability matrices were updated to reflect changes made to the goals and questions within each KFA. This work was done by Bill Mackey, Leroy Botten, and Blake Andrews.

  • A general technical enriching of the systems engineering content of all the KFAs was accomplished based upon the above improvements and the incorporation of numerous suggestions provided by reviewers. Every KFA underwent some form of review; those that were dramatically changed underwent numerous reviews by individuals who were not authors of the KFA.

  • A revised introduction (Section 1) and rewritten/expanded Section 2 was provided by Rich Widmann.

Additionally, all of the above improvements for the INCOSE SECAM were incorporated and final editing was performed by Blake Andrews.

Version 1.40 of the INCOSE SECAM was primarily due to the joint efforts, either as author, reviewer, or both, of the following people:



  • Blake Andrew Rockwell Collins Air Transport Division

  • Tom Bachand Mitre

  • Charles Baird Systems Integration Software, Inc.

  • John Blyler Tri-Cities Local INCOSE Chapter

  • LeRoy Botten Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Lillian Brantley Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Gary Comb Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Richard Connett Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Dick Cramond TRW

  • Ken Crowder Boeing Information and Support Services

  • M. M. (Mac) Dillsi MACTEC/Vectra GSI

  • Richard Garrison Westinghouse Hanford

  • Gary Garside Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Paul Gartz Boeing Commercial Airplane Company

  • Jerry Fisher Loral Federal Systems

  • Norm Gei Hughes Aircraft Company, Defense Systems

  • Charles Griner Westinghouse Hanford

  • Mike Gros Hughes Aircraft Company, Defense Systems

  • Dan Franci Department of Energy, Hanford Facility

  • George Friedman Past President, INCOSE

  • Mike Liewald Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Bob Lightsey Defense Systems Management College

  • Doug Low Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Bill Mackey Computer Sciences Corporation

  • Thomas McCann Hughes Aircraft Company, Defense Systems

  • Brian McCay Mitre

  • John Nyland United Defense L.P.

  • Bob Olson Naval Air Warfare Center - Weapons

  • Dave Olson Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Ron Olson GTE Government Systems

  • Larry Pohlman Boeing Information Systems

  • Frank Pohlner Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Dave Prekla GTE Government Systems

  • Donna Rhode Loral Federal Systems

  • Terry Ros Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory

  • Cho Shimizu Boeing Commercial Airplane

  • Joseph Simpson Tri-Cities Local INCOSE Chapter

  • Mary Simpson Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory

  • George Stern TASC

  • Sue Stetak Hewlett Packard

  • Art Stone Rockwell

  • Steve Tavan Mitre

  • Michael Townsend Naval Air Warfare Center - Indianapolis

  • Rich Widmann Hughes Aircraft Company, Electro-Optical Systems

  • Ann Wilbur Loral Western Development Laboratories



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