New SEMS President-elect Brian K. Smith shares the best of IISE Annual 2017, and board member Julie Drzymalski talks webinars and goals in the latest issue of IM .

Pricing carbon dioxide into your supply chain

With climate change concerns and CO2 regulations increasing, companies need easy-to-implement economic order quantity models to make logistics decisions.

Mentoring: A lesson from the Fortune 500

In the July/August IM , columnist Dan Carrison espouses the triple positive effect of a mentoring program: boosting the mentee, the mentor and the organization.

People and creativity: The lean basics

Process improvement must advance to where staff members see it as an outlet for their creativity and expression as opposed to changes that are forced upon them.


Presidents' Message | New Year and Goals

Hello SEMS friends,

Happy New Year! We hope that you all enjoyed the holidays and spent quality time with friends and family. We are also confident you have a New Year's resolution. As we begin to work with our teams to meet our goals and resolutions, it is important to take a moment and lay the foundation to achieve them. 

Goal setting with team members is an important activity, although oftentimes, it is done in haste, with limited input from teams and stakeholders. A goal statement should answer the question: "What specific, observable, measurable outcomes does the team want to see from the product and/or project, realized six to twelve months from now?" Ideally, it is a vision statement, with a unique and specific vision about the future, which is inspirational and creates excitement amongst the team.  

Goal statements should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Teams should also strive to identify success measures that are unique, observable, measurable, direct proof that our actions are producing tangible,sustainable results. Typically, the success measures can be aligned to the Balanced Scorecard components (Client Satisfaction, Financial Health, Process Health and People Growth). Remember: make sure your success measures are focused on the right things - we do not want to drive the

Once the goal statement is agreed upon, the team should conduct a "Hopes” and “Fears”activity. Hopes are those unspoken positive outcomes or enablers of the team goals, whereas the fears are the unspoken barriers, inhibitors or blockers that prevents success (e.g. the white elephant or a critical business condition). The team can use stickies to brainstorm the Hopes and Fears and then prioritize the barriers that need attention and the strengths that need to be as the team works on the project. Hopefully, as you work with your teams on the New Year’s resolutions or goals, you can put these tips to beneficial use. From a SEMS perspective, there are two webinars that we will be hosting in March and April 2018 focused on soft skills for engineering managers – stay tuned for the announcements this month. For the Annual Conference, our track chairs are working diligently to put together an exemplary program. We are also putting finishing touches to the partnership with ASEM. As always, we encourage you to contribute to the society. Please reach out to the board to see if there are areas where you can contribute. 

Wishing you a prosperous 2018. 

Sreekanth Ramakrishnan, SEMS President  

Brian Smith, SEMS President-Elect

Charlene Yauch, SEMS Past- President

SEMS Board of Directors | Call for Nominations

We have a call for nominations for the President-elect and Directors for the 2018-2021 period. 

The President-elect serves a three-year term - transitioning from the President-elect to the President, and finally as the Past President. We also have two vacant Director positions, who serve three-year terms, and will lead one of the Board's portfolios (Newsletters and Industrial Management). We want a rich slate of candidates for all positions and are happy to discuss with any of you that might want more information. Contact the Chair of the Nomination Committee: Charlene Yauch (SEMS Past-President) for more information and to express your interest. She can be contacted at

IISE Annual Conference | SEMS Engineering Management Track Updates

The Engineering Management (EM) track includes innovative research and practice-based solutions that focus on the convergence of the fields of engineering, technology, and business. The EM track covers any research-based or applied strategies, and analytical methods to improve an organization's ability to enact meaningful management decisions by arriving at optimal solutions to complex decision problems.

Abstracts included in this track cover a range of interdisciplinary topics such as:

  • change and risk management,
  • decision analysis,
  • manufacturing and service process improvements,
  • operations and supply chain management,
  • organizational behavior and design,
  • performance measurement,
  • project management, and
  • team-based work systems, among others.

Summary of EM Abstract Submissions

Table 1: Total Number of Abstracts

Submitted Accepted
89 76*

Table 2: EM Abstract Breakdown

Denomination Quantity
Oral Presentation 65
Extended Presentation 7
Panels 1
Town Hall Meeting 1
Workshops 1

*Some of the accepted abstracts were transferred from other tracks. 

Click here  to see the sessions we have organized for the 2018 conference.

IISE Annual Conference | SEMS Paper Competition

This year's SEMS track of the IISE Annual Conference will feature both a

student paper and a track paper competition. The paper competitions will recognize the academic work of students, faculty and practitioners who demonstrate outstanding scholarship. Both graduate and undergraduate students can submit papers to the student paper competition. Papers co-authored by professors are excluded from the student paper competition, but the professor's assistance is welcome. The review criteria will evaluate them with regards to originality, applicability, robustness of the methodology and overall quality. Up to three awards may be given upon recommendation of the SEMS selection committee for both the student paper and track paper competition.

Best paper winners must present their findings in the ISERC Engineering Management Track at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo, May 19-20, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Lead authors of first, second and third winning papers will receive a certificate and a cash award. The first-place winners will be announced on SEMS town hall meeting. The winning papers will also be published in the ISERC proceedings. Click here for the Eligibility Criteria for the Student Paper Competition.

See you in Orlando!

Pilar Pazos, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Engineering Management and Systems Engineering Department at Old Dominion University

Member Spotlight | Sujatha Alla (Old Dominion University)

Sujatha Alla (old Dominion University) Sujatha Alla (old Dominion University)Sujatha Alla (old Dominion University)In this newsletter, we highlight the third-place winner of the SEMS Best Paper Competition in the Engineering Management track at the IISE Annual Conference & Expo 2017. Her article, The Impact of Requirements Management Documentation on Software Project Outcomes in Health Care, was co-authored by Dr. Pilar Pazos (thesis advisor) and Dr Rolando Del Aguila (subject matter expert). She was inspired by extensive discussions with Dr. Pazos and guidance from Dr. Del Aguila. Additional discussions with Purnesh Konathala,her brother helped her to understand the real-word scenario problems in software project development. She has been member of IISE and SEMS since 2016.

Sujatha Alla is a first-year PhD student in Engineering Managmeent at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virgina, U.S.A. Her current research is about "Blockchain technology and its revolutionary adaptation in health care" and "Artificial intelligence and it's applications in electronic health care". Before she started the Ph.D., she studied for a Masters in Engineering Management at the same university (which she completed in May 2017). Her research focus was on the 'Impact requirements engineering in software project's performance' and 'measuring software quality' specifically in healthcare.  However, her university education started in her home country of India, where she earned a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Master in Pure Physics, respectively. Additionally, she has certifications in Financial Markets, French, Six Sigma Greenbelt, Software Testing and Yoga. Her range of studies was influenced by her passion to learn new things and having a diverse career pathway.Click here for more insight from Sujatha.

IISE Annual Conference | SEMS Best Paper Competition

3rd PlaceThe Impact of Requirements Management Documentation on Software Project Outcomes in Health Care by Sujatha Alla and Pilar Pazos (Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.) and Rolando Del Aguila (Sentara Health Care, Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.)

Despite considerable time and resources spent on the initiation phase of software projects, discrepancies often exist between formal project documentation, customer requirements, and final project specifications. Such discrepancies in the requirements management process can have a very negative impact on final project outcomes. The Business Requirements Document (BRD) constitutes the formal software requirements documentation, which typically includes stakeholders' needs and expectations and project scope while providing a clear project roadmap and project plan. 

According to IEEE standards, a BRD should be a structured document that includes specific elements such as functional and technical requirements while incorporating certain traits such as traceability and verifiability. Numerous studies indicate that most software companies do not formally follow accepted standards such as IEEE while developing their BRDs and we know little about the relationship between requirements documentation and project outcome. In this paper, we study the impact of requirements documentation quality on software project's performance through a random sample of software projects from 12 healthcare providers. Requirements documentation quality was evaluated against IEEE standards. Projects' cost and schedule metrics were used to assess project outcomes. Results outline the key elements of the requirements documentation process that are significant predictors of project success.

Lend a helping hand | Call for volunteers

If you are interested in volunteering for the SEMS and its initiatives, contact Sreekanth Ramakrishnan SEMS president, or Daren Maynard, newsletter editor.


Industrial Management - January/February 2017May/June 2017

Industrial Management is the member publication of the Society for Engineering & Management Systems. The May/June 2017 issue features articles about meaningful work, creating a global virtual workplace based on tools used by NASA, partnership-based benchmarking, 10 factors for managing modular product platforms, and tips for finding the best change and crisis management leaders. In SEMS Says, Charlene Yauch surveys workers about cellular manufacturing, and Daren Maynard urges engineers to take their management and analytics skills to the political arena.

SEMS Newsletter

NOVEMBER 2017 issue of the SEMS Newsletter features IISE upcoming call for nominations, member spotlight and more.


JULY 2017  

MAY 2017

MARCH 2017





More Events