Trade Study

This section introduces the concept of a trade-off study. A trade study is an activity often performed by a systems engineer to choose between alternative architectures or designs. Often in the early development phases, alternative architectures or designs are presented and a selection among them is required. Remember critical thinking? This is where the System Engineer should show his strength in analyzing costs, benefits, advantages and disadvantages. It is often done with a matrix of feature attributes and weight multipliers for values of each alternative.

The measurements can seem subjective unless care is taken to find an objective way to evaluate the attribute values. A trade study includes a description of the alternatives, a worksheet of comparison information and a recommendation.

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