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Since World War II the magnitude and complexity of technological enterprise has increased dramatically. So too have the costs of development, mistakes and failures. The old-style project engineer who could often be his own designer and project manager has been replaced by a teamÂ¿the systems engineering staffÂ¿who integrate, co-ordinate and evaluate the realization of a project through all its evolutionary phases. In particular, systems engineering has produced an approach to design and project appraisal that integrates and balances the various technical, economic, reliability, safety, logistic, support criteria oriented towards future market and operational requirements evaluated over the whole-life of the system. This introductory paper provides an entry to the systems concepts that underlie systems engineering, and then illuminates the practice through the perspectives of systems organization, design and planning.