Modeling Capabilities with Mannequin-Based mostly Programs Engineering (MBSE)


Mannequin-based methods engineering (MBSE) as a strategy doesn’t straight deal with capabilities, which describes the skills of a system to attain or carry out a process or a mission. As part of an issue description, capabilities have sturdy connection to system necessities, and will be modeled utilizing comparable strategy. Within the SEI Weblog submit Necessities in Mannequin-Based mostly Programs Engineering (MBSE), I mentioned the necessities area. On this submit, I contemplate the function of capabilities in system engineering—their goal, how they’re modeled and analyzed utilizing MBSE and SysML, and the way they are often related to enterprise necessities.

Functionality is an overloaded time period. There are enterprise capabilities and technical capabilities from the enterprise structure area, answer capabilities from the methods growth course of area, corresponding to scaled agile framework (SAFe), and simply capabilities from the Unified Profile for DoDAF/MODAF (UPDM) or Unified Architectural Framework (UAF). These definitions basically fall into two sorts: (1) a high-level idea describing a capability of a system to attain or carry out a process or a mission and (2) a technical idea describing an answer for a selected enterprise drawback. On this weblog submit, I concentrate on the primary kind of functionality, a high-level idea that I’ll seek advice from as simply functionality.

Product or undertaking managers typically contemplate the capabilities of a future or present system when contemplating the system’s imaginative and prescient and roadmap. Capabilities present a complete image within the absence of implementation particulars. Like necessities, capabilities are components of the issue description. Capabilities and necessities are tightly related, and so they inform and refine one another. Enterprise specialists typically outline levels of the enterprise course of by first answering the query, What ought to the system be capable of do? From there, the capabilities emerge.

For instance, M. Maier in his 1998 article, “Architecting Rules for System-of-Programs” described clever transport methods (ITS) for example of a system of methods. as In response to Maier, the enterprise imaginative and prescient for such methods is to

  • present “real-time info on graphic circumstances and transportation choices to vacationers in any location”
  • “permit a traveler to scan visitors circumstances and select the transportation mode with predicted least journey time”
  • “permit a variety of visitors management methods to be utilized throughout metropolitan areas utilizing methods optimized from the knowledge out there”
  • use info that “may embody real-time and predictive estimation of hyperlink instances all through the visitors community”
  • use info that might embody “real-time statistics on driver begin–vacation spot factors and deliberate route”

From this enterprise imaginative and prescient, a number of capabilities could possibly be extracted, together with

  • traveler administration
  • travel-condition administration
  • traffic-controls administration
  • info administration
  • route administration
  • traffic-control methods administration and optimization
  • communication administration
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MBSE explicitly presents a way to mannequin necessities, however doesn’t present capabilities as a component kind. There’s a enterprise requirement component (see my submit Necessities in Mannequin-Based mostly Programs Engineering) that can be utilized to mannequin the system’s capabilities, as proven in Determine 1 under.

Figure-1: Example of Business Requirements as Capabilities

Determine 1: Instance of Enterprise Necessities as Capabilities

As with many high-level components in methods engineering, capabilities require decomposition. Articles in Trendy Analyst, Capstera, and the Enterprise Expertise Structure Physique of Knoweldge state that there will be as much as 5 ranges of capabilities, with the variety of ranges relying on the scale and complexity of the system. Advanced methods of methods could require all 5 ranges plus one sub-level, able to. The instance in Determine 2 makes use of solely three ranges of functionality decomposition and calls these ranges classes. Capabilities will be organized based mostly on different rules, corresponding to practical areas or enterprise construction. Utilizing bundle construction, customized stereotypes, and coloration coding might help methods engineers and enterprise or enterprise architects higher manage functionality decomposition.

Figure-2: Example of Capability Organization by Package

Determine 2: Instance of Functionality Group by Bundle

If bundle construction is used to arrange a system’s capabilities, the derive relationship exhibits decomposition of the capabilities from totally different packages representing ranges as proven in Determine 3. For visually tagging capabilities from totally different classes, customized stereotypes will be useful.

Figure-3: Example of Capability Decomposition with Custom Stereotype

Determine 3: Instance of Functionality Decomposition with Customized Stereotype

As proven in Determine 4, a mixture of customized stereotype, coloration coding, and little one–mother or father relationship may also manage capabilities with out separating them into totally different packages.

Figure-4: Example of Capability Decomposition with Color Coding

Determine 4: Instance of Functionality Decomposition with Shade Coding

One function of capabilities is to cowl what an enterprise or a system does with out requiring decomposition into the small print. Particulars that embody a person view of the performance or constraints come from necessities. A great mannequin ought to supply a connection between capabilities and necessities. As an alternative of deriving the connection between capabilities represented as enterprise necessities and different necessities (as I confirmed within the SEI weblog submit Necessities in Mannequin-Based mostly Programs Engineering (MBSE)), the looser hint relationship can be utilized, as proven in Determine 5.

Figure 5: Example of Capability-to-Requirements Traceability

Determine 5: Instance of Functionality-to-Necessities Traceability

Connecting capabilities to necessities creates a significant linkage between two several types of conceptual drawback description that helps handle the complexity of the system. By staying at a excessive stage of abstraction, capabilities permit an architect to plan phases of the system evolution with out the necessity to preserve many particulars in thoughts. These particulars is not going to be misplaced if they’re captured as necessities and traced to a corresponding functionality.

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There’s one key distinction between capabilities and necessities: Necessities come from totally different sources, sponsored by totally different stakeholders, and are normally captured at totally different ranges of abstraction. In distinction, capabilities ought to all the time symbolize a coherent and consolidated view of the system or enterprise.

After they’re captured and decomposed, capabilities should be analyzed. One kind of study is to determine dependencies between capabilities. Although two capabilities can belong to 2 totally different areas of the system, one can depend upon one other, as proven in Determine 6 under. The character of the dependencies may also differ. A functionality can depend upon one other functionality functionally due to a enterprise course of, order of operations, or knowledge passing.

Figure-6: Example of Capability Dependency Relationship

Determine 6: Instance of Functionality Dependency Relationship

Then again, one functionality will be an extension of one other functionality utilizing an already present performance of the system. Such capabilities must be developed in an applicable order, as proven in Determine 7 under. The dependency relationship captures this elementary info within the mannequin and ensures that will probably be delivered to the following section of the system-development lifecycle.

Figure-7: Example of Capability Dependency Relationship Used to Capture Development Dependency

Determine 7: Instance of Functionality Dependency Relationship Used to Seize Growth Dependency

Capabilities by themselves are usually not adequate for an understanding of how a system or enterprise will operate. They should be augmented by a proof of how a system will behave when it displays these capabilities. Even once we keep at a excessive stage of abstraction, we have to analyze the habits of the system or enterprise at that stage. A Programs Modeling Language (SysML) exercise diagram is a approach to seize habits within the type of a course of. A relationship to make use of for associating functionality and exercise is refine, as proven in Determine 8 under.

Figure-8: Example of Relationship Between Capability and Activity

Determine 8: Instance of Relationship Between Functionality and Exercise

As part of functionality evaluation, an architect typically begins to consider part of a system or modules that may carry out the capabilities below evaluation in addition to customers and the roles that people will play whereas interacting with the system or as part of the enterprise. Right here the exercise and block SysML components may assist, as proven in Determine 9 under.

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Figure-9: Example of Capability with Performer, Role, and Process

Determine 9: Instance of Functionality with Performer, Position, and Course of

When an enterprise architect finishes decomposition and evaluation of the capabilities, the following logical step is to create a roadmap for capabilities growth and a launch together with phasing for capabilities. For this, SysML doesn’t present any specialised device. All relationships captured by the mannequin together with commonplace evaluation will assist an architect discover a important path for delivering a functionality and defining the roadmap, as proven by the instance in Determine 10 under.

Figure-10: Example of Roadmap Analysis

Determine 10: Instance of Roadmap Evaluation

Observations and Conclusions

SysML has just a few deficiencies in its assist of the enterprise and portfolio structure that may be overcome with assist of architectural frameworks:

  • SysML doesn’t assist capabilities by default.
  • An architect might want to create further stereotypes and an enforcement mechanism to accommodate capabilities.
  • SysML doesn’t assist creation of a roadmap for the capabilities, together with planning over time.

In idea, it will be potential for an skilled enterprise architect to create a customized meta-model to implement to a point one of many commonplace architectural frameworks, corresponding to The Open Group Structure Framework (TOGAF) or DoD Structure Framework (DoDAF)/Unified Structure Framework (UAF) utilizing simply SysML. Doing so, nevertheless, can be time-consuming and yield a barely usable end result. Such a meta-model can be complicated, exhausting to implement and comply with, and exhausting to implement with out difficult model-verification guidelines that might be difficult to create. A greater possibility can be to have a look at present extensions of SysML that implement an architectural framework of selection. All main suppliers of MBSE/SysML modeling environments assist the most well-liked architectural frameworks.

Modeling capabilities that use MBSE deal with a number of important points of constructing a system of methods. Functionality modeling helps methods engineers handle the complexity and quantity of necessities by abstracting particular traits of the system. This stage of abstraction additionally facilitates communication amongst stakeholders and helps create the undertaking roadmap. By serving to to supply effectively analyzed and understood capabilities, modeling helps the creation of a greater system and enterprise structure. MBSE practices assist traceability of capabilities to necessities in addition to traceability of capabilities to operational and logical structure transitively to answer structure. Elevated traceability improves the standard of the system and ensures confidence that the system can be constructed in response to necessities.

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