Deadlines are what makes the world go around. Without honoring them, projects go over budget, products don’t make it to market when they should, customers become frustrated, and businesses go under.
Project managers and systems engineers live and die by deadlines, and they’re always looking for new ways to improve efficiency and ensure that projects ship on time. Over the years, many different approaches and methodologies have been developed to help those working in engineering fields meet their deadlines, but perhaps none is as effective and comprehensive as Model-Based Systems Engineering, or MBSE.
What is MBSE?
Model-based systems engineering is, as the name implies, an engineering methodology that uses visual models rather than documents as the means of sharing and updating information between engineers working on a project. By embracing MBSE, organizations in both the private and government sectors have been able to reduce waste and improve their ability to ship products and solutions to market on time.
How Will MBSE Help Me Stay on Schedule?
1. MBSE Gets Everyone Speaking the Same Language and Terminology
Imagine if you were trying to build a house, but no one on your construction crew spoke the same language, and half of them were using the metric system while other followed the imperial system. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, no?
While this might be a comical comparison, many project managers— however unwittingly— end up doing something like this when they allow engineers working on different parts of a project to use different tools and modeling languages. It’s basically asking for miscommunication and problems, and all the delays that go along with it.
With MBSE, system engineers sit down and decide which modeling language they want to use for the entire project ahead of time. MBSE is compatible with popular languages like SysML and UML. With regards to terminology, MBSE also saves time because it insists upon clarity and standardization of all terminology pertaining to the project. It eliminates any sort of notational ambiguity so that when an engineer at any phase of the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) sees a model, they understand exactly what it means.
2. One Repository of Information
MBSE requires there to be one repository for information in which the model is stored and data is depicted. Any changes made to the model will be reflected on a system-wide level, rather than only being visible in one department. Compare this to traditional document-based system engineering, where team members working on different phases of the project and or parts of the same phase are always playing catch-up with each other in terms of communication.
Using the MBSE methodology ensures that everyone is on the same page at all times. This is especially beneficial with agile SDLC, where different phases of the project are being worked on simultaneously.
3. It Ensures That You Are Using the Right Tools for the Job
MBSE calls for the engineers and project managers to not only to agree on what tools to use for building their system models but to make sure it is the right fit for the job. Engineers following the MBSE methodology will begin by comparing the pros and cons of one tool or combination of tools versus others.
By following MBSE, they might conclude that using Magic Draw to depict system architecture would be more effective than using Microsoft PowerPoint, given that the former can depict much greater levels of detail and also allows changes made to the model to reflect through the network. It isn’t enough to simply be able to draw a model; that drawing tool must fit the requirements of MBSE.
It is easy to see how this saves time and energy versus a hodge-podge of different programs in with a document-based methodology.
Bringing it all Together With MBSE
By using MBSE, engineers can improve efficiency and make it faster for their team members to get a sense of the bigger picture as to how the system is designed, the relationships between different parts of a system, and how it fits into a larger system-of-systems.
And remember— MBSE is applicable through all steps of the SDLC. The further along the cycle an error progresses before it is detected, the more expensive and time-consuming the fix will be. The improved efficiency that MBSE will bring to your project allows you to catch errors earlier in the process and save money and time.
Want to find out how much time MBSE can save you? Reach out to our team of experts today we’ll show you how to start shipping sooner, and with a lot fewer headaches.