Human-centered Systems Engineering

View paper 

View presentation 

Human Factors
George Samaras
Samaras & Associates Inc.

How to design, develop and validate human-centered products, processes, and services that are safe, effective, efficient and satisfying to use.

Products, processes, and services exist solely because their uses by humans have real or perceived value (utilitarian or esthetic). This is the fundamental justification and rationale for human-centered development, which provides the greatest long-term return-on-investment and lowest total cost of ownership. Systems Engineering (SE) is a structured, systematic approach to the conceptualization, design, development, deployment, and replacement of products, processes, and services. Classical SE, in existence since the early 1900s, is one of the oldest agile methods. We will discuss the fundamental state space, lifecycle, technical, and management activities, in the context of micro-ergonomics (tools for individuals) and macro-ergonomics (tools for organizations). Quality is about identifying and satisficing ALL the stakeholders' evolving and frequently conflicting needs, wants, and desires (NWDs). Requirements (design inputs) are a subset of NWDs selected for fulfillment. Modern human factors engineering can contribute at all levels of SE. The concept of human-centered system complexity (from physical and behavioral to social and cultural considerations) will be presented, followed by a detailed discussion of the relevant metrology. Human-centered SE presents a rather large set of factors for experimental verification and validation studies. Experimental design approaches, historically used by engineers, are very inefficient given large numbers of factors. We will discuss the fundamental principles of experimental designs and the modern approach (statistical design of experiments or DOE) useful for product, process, and/or service verification and validation studies. DOE will be visually presented using its underlying, simple geometric structure.