Advanced Systems Architecting Course

Course: Advanced Systems Architecting (SESA 6201)


System architects play an integrating role between many specialized engineers and other stakeholders during the creation of new systems. The role of system architect requires a broad set of skills. How do you cope with conflicting needs, opinions, and interests? How do you lead the design team effectively? How do you balance innovation and risk mitigation, installed base and new systems, short term and long term? How do you share vision and make pragmatic choices at the same time?

Let's look at some real life scenarios:

Scenario: The stovepipe organization. The R&D organization is decomposed in functional disciplines. System architects are perceived as free agents without responsibilities, doing the fun work. They meddle with ongoing engineering work and limit the autonomy of the discipline. The challenge for system architects in such organization is to transform from being a threat into becoming someone who brings value.

Scenario: Crisis during system integration. After several years of work the project stumbles from crisis into crisis, causing delays and budget overruns. The interconnected parts of the system don’t function properly, performance is poor and the overall system is unstable. This situation typically happens when little to no systems architecting took place earlier in the project. The system architect has to start as troubleshooter and do damage containment. After this stressful period the architect and the team hopefully have learned enough to do more proper architecting for the next system. They may even have been able to identify refactoring opportunities to bolster the system.

Scenario: Broad product portfolio where synergy should be harvested. This is a very common situation. The development organization is active with multiple product lines on the market. The history of individual product lines has resulted in divergence, where from the broader perspective synergy is expected. How do you migrate to a situation where synergy between systems can be harvested? How do you juggle variation to harvest synergy? What are the threats and pitfalls of increased synergy?

Scenario: The brilliant but invisible architect. Designers and architects tend to be introverted people who dislike socio-political situations. Quite naturally they hide themselves in the safe world of design. Communication with management is quite limited. This poor relationship degrades the decision making process. Architects need to train their communication and presentation skills, especially towards the less technical managers. How does a system architect communicate complex topics to managers who may fail to grasp the nuances?

Target audience

(sub)System engineers, designers, and architects with real world product creation experience. This course looks mostly at the non-technical aspects of systems architecting.

Prerequisites: at least bachelor in engineering or science and some practical experience in design and engineering. More experienced designers and architects tend to appreciate this course more.

Course Objectives

Objective of the course is to teach system engineers and architects methods and techniques function effectively in multi-disciplinary design environments with lots of stakeholders.

After this course students will:

Educational objectives:

Course duration and format

The course takes 5 full days. Participants taking the course for credits have to do a 10 week project afterwards. During the course participants work on real-life cases, preferably from their own domain. About half of the exercises are being done in randomly mixed teams on prescribed cases. Theory and exercises alternate continuously. Theory is ample illustrated with examples from practice.

The exercises provide even more value when multiple participants from the same company participate. We recommend to send a small team to the course, if possible.

Course content

During the course we address the following questions:

  1. How does systems architecting fit in the organization and its processes?

  2. What are deliverables, responsibilities and activities of the system architect?

  3. How to elicit requirements?

  4. What methods, tools and techniques are available for the architect?

  5. How to anticipate on future needs, trends, and changes?

  6. How to harvest synergy?

  7. What is the role of software in complex systems?

  8. How to structure and manage documentation?

  9. How to present to less technical management teams?

  10. What human factors impact systems architecting?

  11. How to apply this material in the own organization, short term and long term.

This course focuses at the less technical aspects of systems architecting. The program is based on one of the basic working methods of an architect: viewpoint hopping. The course addresses systems architecting from ten different viewpoints with time boxes of about half day.

Course material


The course fee for a course week including all course materials, lunches and coffee breaks can be found at Systems Engineering of Buskerud and Vestfold University College site

To register please send an e-mail to: with the following information:

The number of participants is limited.


Courses are taught at Buskerud and Vestfold University College in Kongsberg. Courses can be customized or taught at location, contact us to discuss needs and opportunities.

More information

For more information you can send an email to