Deploying Model-Based Systems Engineering within the Enterprise

systems engineering imageToday’s blog post is a continuation of a series on Systems Engineering for Smart Products. In my previous posting, I described how traditional systems engineering has evolved to model-based systems engineering (MBSE), in which the authoritative system definition no longer resides in a set of static text-based design documents, but rather in a dynamic model.

While the benefits of MBSE have been extensively documented, there has been little guidance on how to successfully deploy MBSE within an engineering enterprise. Through engagements with many A&D, automotive and energy companies, we have identified the following success factors.

Start with the right program. If you are looking for a program to pilot MBSE practices, choose one that is dominated by electronics and embedded software subsystems. Groups responsible for these disciplines are more familiar with MBSE best practices and will readily adopt.

Integrate across all disciplines.  MBSE benefits more than just systems engineering groups, so you must consider how all the engineering disciplines contribute to and gain from model-based methods. For example, embedded software groups can accelerate application development and reduce integration failures by synchronizing the system architecture model with the embedded software implementation. Check out this webinar from our domain experts to learn how such an approach can benefit avionics programs.

Set objectives and measure. Before adopting MBSE practices, an organization must have a clear understanding of the end goal, whether it’s cost savings, reduced time to market or improved quality. Embarking on MBSE just because “everyone is doing it” doesn’t cut it. Our technical support teams can help you determine the  ROI for MBSE and how to meet your objectives. See the ANSYS SCADE Usage Ramp-up Expertise web page for more details.

Invest in training and mentoring. Good model-based systems engineering is actively acquired. Handbooks, webinars and training programs from ANSYS can help in the initial understanding and get you started, but the most effective way to educate your organization on MBSE is to develop a corporate program that teaches how modeling is to be applied to real projects. This may include:

  • MBSE governance to enforce standard processes and practices to insure consistent quality of your system models.
  • Assigning a corporate mentors to project teams. I typically see mentors assigned from system engineering teams or MBSE centers of excellence.
  • Conducting quarterly process reviews to ensure sound practices and adoption.
  • Staying informed of best practices by engaging with professional and standards organization. To this end, the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), and Object Modeling Group (OMG) are good resources.

Select the right tools. Deploying MBSE inherently requires selecting a software application to create and manage system models. Important attributes to consider when selecting a MBSE application include:

  • Ease of use. Select a tool that is intuitive to system engineers.
  • Open standards. SysML has gained considerable traction as an open standard for MBSE.
  • Automated synchronization with embedded software design and simulation tools.
  • Multi-vendor interoperability. Remember your MBSE tool must co-exist with a variety of engineering enterprise software, including requirements management and PLM.
  • Support for team collaboration and distributed projects.
  • Automatic generation of interface control documents.

For more information on model-based systems engineering, and to learn about ANSYS solutions in this domain, check out our new managerial white paper, Systems Engineering for Smart Products. You can also post your questions below, and I’ll get right back to you.

Check out ANSYS at the 24th Annual INCOSE International Symposium. ANSYS will have a booth at INCOSE June 30 – July 3. Stop by and see me. I’d like to hear your experiences deploying MBSE practices in your organization.

This entry was posted in Embedded Software and tagged , , by Todd McDevitt. Bookmark the permalink.

About Todd McDevitt

Todd McDevitt is a Marketing Director at ANSYS, Inc. and has more than 15 years experience designing and developing commercial engineering software. His areas of expertise include nonlinear finite element analysis, multibody dynamics, embedded control systems, and model-based system engineering. At ANSYS his efforts are directed towards strategic marketing initiatives and facilitating the company’s R&D planning and decision-making. Mr. McDevitt received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and holds a Professional Engineering license in the State of Michigan.

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