Systems metabolic engineering of metabolic networks by genetic techniques requires kinetic equations for each enzyme present. In vitro studies of singular enzymes have limitations for predicting in vivo behavior, and in vivo experiments are constrained to retain viable cells. The estimation of kinetic parameters in vivo is a challenge due to the complexity of the internal cell environment. This concise review analyzes the limitations of in vitro and in vivo approaches, and shows that not all parameters can be determined and that multicollinearity exists. On the other hand, this review also shows that cell metabolism is adequately described with a smaller number of parameters and with approximative or reduced models. A major hurdle is the identification and quantification of allosteric effectors. Despite limitations, in vivo kinetic experiments are adequate in providing a quantitative description of the cell as a system.