All at once, these can be elusive questions - - -

Often we know what a new system must to do in general terms. However it is frequently not as easy or straightforward to determine the specific design details of how a system should be implemented. Interactions with other system components, users, or environments can often create complexities that elude simple analysis. Not only must performance parameters be defined. Environmental constraints, manufacturing issues, user applications, and economic constraints must all be carefully included in the overall system design equation. These are often difficult questions to answer without serious consideration and analysis. We can help get you started in the right direction.


  • Requirements Definition & Analysis
    The best way to get started is to document the known system requirements in database format. This can provide a very useful tool for the quick summary and review of system requirements using database sorting and reporting functions. It also provides an easy way to add additional derived requirements and perhaps delete unnecessary requirements as they become apparent. The cause and effect relationships of many detailed requirements can be easily maintained and evaluated as a dynamic database simultaneously accessible by many individuals.
  • Trade Studies
    After the primary system requirements are known, there are often several possible solutions that materialize, each offering different advantages and disadvantages. The complexities of these pros and cons are usually not simple apples-to-apples comparisons and may require a more elaborate method for accurate evaluation. In these cases, a more formal trade study matrix can be developed for evaluating the relative merits of several approaches.
  • Specifications
    As system requirements are defined and potential solutions are chosen, the next step is to document the design in the form of specifications that are available for reference by the entire design team. These can be both performance specifications and test specifications. Performance specifications document the system requirements and the chosen approaches and architectures for meeting those requirements. Test specifications document the system parameters and methodologies to be used for system test and verification. A thorough set of documentation is essential to make all requirements prominent throughout subsequent design activities and to prevent any costly oversights.
  • Iteration - -
    The most forgotten part of system design is usually the on-going iteration and continuous re-evaluation of system requirements, trade studies and approaches. Rarely does the design of a complex system progress, without changes, from beginning to end the first time through. Even as detail design work progresses, things are often uncovered that negate original assumptions that were made in choosing the correct approach. For this reason, it is always necessary to continuously re-access the design assumptions and be ready to react with appropriate changes to insure that the ultimate system goals are thoroughly and effectively met.

System Design

Definition - The appropriate selection and arrangement of system components, so as to meet the overall objectives and purpose of the system.

System Design Questions