This presentation was given at the Lean Software and Systems Conference 2012 (LSSC12).
Discussions of systems engineering theory and practice usually focus on the technical tasks that are to be performed by systems engineers. In this presentation, a set of socially-oriented tasks that are necessary to accomplish the systems engineering mission on a large-scale system development are described, and the need for the inclusion within the scope of the systems engineering function established. Most importantly, the implications for technical practices are described; for example, the representations and views of a system used by the systems engineering function are asserted to have a critical role in the success of these social-oriented systems engineering tasks, and through them, on the success of the entire project. The over-all impact on the systems engineering process of incorporating social aspects into the process and responsibilities are considered, and it is shown that the net effect is to increase the efficiency of the over-all process. Because these techniques help to manage and counter the complexity inherent in such large-scale system developments, they therefore constitute an appropriate element of lean engineering.