Dr. Paul Montgomery, ESEP
Congratulations! Your engineering team has selected a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) tool, everyone has learned how to enter system design data into the tool, and now the tool produces all of the diagrams you need to view the system design. However, one question remains; “Will your system work?”
As the systems engineering community continues to embrace the concepts of MBSE and deploy associated design tools into their workflow, the challenge of managing the tools to define the details of the system design can sometimes overshadow the use of the tools to analyze the quality of the system design. How can the tool outputs and artifacts be used to assess system completeness, interface continuity/integrity, logical control flow, ‘integrate-ability’, ‘qualify-ability’, design risks, interoperability, and ultimately, mission effectiveness? Although it would be ideal if MBSE tools performed these system design assessments automatically, this is not yet the state-of-the-art.
Until MBSE tools mature to provide more automated system analyses, how can system engineers evaluate the output of current MBSE tools to analyze system designs? This paper provides a sample of the “Top 10” inspections of MBSE tool outputs to ensure that a system design is ready to proceed to more detailed design, production, etc. These inspection methods may demonstrate how MBSE can be more credibly used directly in an acquisition program’s technical reviews (e.g., PDR, CDR, etc), reduce program risks, allow for agility in the SE processes, or simply speed up system acquisition. The inspection areas include analysis of completeness, integrity, and continuity of the system in the following domains:
3. Interfaces and continuity
4. Data / content / media
8. Mission and operations and interoperability
9. Logical control
10. Allocation and integrity
This paper uses the outputs of a representative MBSE tool (Vitech’s CORE) to demonstrate samples of how each of the above areas can be inspected and analyzed. These “quick inspection” methods, performed directly in the chosen MBSE environment, can provide the SE team a greater level of confidence in the system design (design-driven analysis) while avoiding laborious and error-prone system analysis using voluminous documentation (document-driven analysis).