MITRE Systems Engineering Roles & Expectations
MITRE systems engineers (SEs) working on engineering systems are expected to propose, influence, and often design the risk management approach that enables risk informed trade-offs and decisions to be made throughout a system's evolution. They are expected to identify, analyze, and prioritize risks based on impact, probabilities, dependencies, timeframes, and unknowns. They are expected to prepare and monitor risk mitigation plans and strategies, conduct reviews, and elevate important risks.
Risk Management Principles
MITRE systems engineers supporting government customers in risk management activities have observed the following elements common to the Department of Defense (DoD) and civilian environments.
Risk Management Is Fundamental
An event is uncertain if there is indefiniteness about its outcome. Risk management acknowledges the concept of uncertainty, which includes risks (unfavorable outcomes) and opportunities (favorable outcomes). Risk management is a formal and disciplined practice for addressing risk. In many ways, it is indistinguishable from program management. It includes identifying risks, assessing their probabilities and consequences, developing management strategies, and monitoring their state to maintain situational awareness of changes in potential threats.
Every Project Involves Risk
Every project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to provide a unique result; it is an undertaking that has not been done before. Therefore, all projects involve some level of risk, even if similar projects have been completed successfully.
Risk and Opportunity Must Be Balanced
Risk and opportunity management deal with uncertainty that is present throughout the systems' life cycle. The objective is to achieve a proper balance between them, while recognizing one is not the complement of the other.
Typically, more risk and opportunity are involved in decisions that are made early in the project life cycle because those decisions have a more significant impact on project scope, cost, and schedule than those made later in the life cycle.
Risk Is Present in Complicated Relationships
Risk affects all aspects of engineering a system and can be present in complicated relationships among project goals. A system may be intended for technical accomplishments near the limits of engineering or the maturity of technology, leading to technical risks. System development may be deployed too early to meet an imminent threat, thus resulting in schedule risks.
All systems have funding challenges, which lead to cost risks. Risk can be introduced by external threats, due to changing social, political, or economic landscapes.