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A Primer For Model-Based Systems Engineering

A Primer For Model-Based Systems Engineering

A Primer For Model-Based Systems Engineering
By David Long

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Book Description

This primer addresses the basic concepts of model-based systems engineering. It covers the Model, Language, Behavior, Process, Architecture, and Verification and Validation. It is a call to consider the foundational principles behind those concepts. It is not designed to present novel insights into MBSE so much as to provide a guided tour of the touchstones of systems design. It is a guide to the new MBSE acolyte and a reminder to the experienced practitioner. It is our hope that you find this primer valuable. We welcome your comments and suggestions about improving it. Much of what we have learned about how it should be organized and presented has come from thoughtful contributions from the readers of the 1st edition.

Book Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #391521 in Books
  • Published on: 2012-04-04
  • Original language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00" h x .31" w x 6.00" l,
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 124 pages

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
5Terrific Read
By Cort C.
The book is well laid out and provides for an interesting read. I highly recommend this book for those looking for a basic book on systems thinking.

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
2Not all that useful...
By Wrong Item
I read the whole thing and was left wondering whether I had learned anything. I guess the word I would use to describe it is "disappointing". Maybe if this was your first exposure to systems engineering it might be of value, but if you're anything other than a rookie, I can't recommend it.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5The power of disciplined agility
By C. Haskins
This book opens with a justified acknowledgement of the pioneering efforts of Jim Long in the area of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and an appreciation for his contributions both to the industry and to the authors. This reviewer is one of those whose own views on MBSE were also formed and influenced by Jim. The primer is well titled as it focuses on the fundamentals of system design, and offers a very readable introduction to persons with all levels of expertise; the novice receives a straightforward definition of terms and concepts and the expert may take away snippets of brilliant insight. At all times the authors talk to the systems engineer in a nearly conversational style. The chapters are well organized in a logical progression that builds momentum to address the question, "What is Model-based Systems Engineering?" and uses a simplified system application to demonstrate in a practical way how the theory looks in practice.
The book could just as easily been entitled "The Hitchhikers Guide to MBSE" to reflect its underlying message of "Don't Panic" and its recurring mantra that reflects Jim's favorite metaphor of "peeling the onion." In true systems engineering style the book argues for both systemic and systematic processes using a design approach that proceeds in an "orderly, logical, and convergent manner" while addressing the totality of the customers' needs. The book offers a STRATA method that supports deliberate detailed refinement in iterations that proceed layer by layer toward a solution consistent with the context and constraints of each layer, and produces an incremental product that can be preserved in the event of disruptions of the development activities. The method straddles the dual needs for both discipline and agility in the problem-solving process while iterating through layers of diminishing uncertainty.
The reader will quickly observe the recurrence of the number 4, whether coincidently or deliberately. There are 4 domains, 4 elements, 4 characteristics, and 4 requirements for a SE process. The authors begin by describing the work of systems design taking place in 4 domains: requirements analysis, functional behavior analysis, architectural synthesis, and verification and validation. There are 4 elements of models intended to represent engineering design: language, structure, argumentation (demonstration of the solution's fitness), and presentation (or visualization). Successful systems models possess 4 characteristics: order, power to demonstrate and persuade, integrity and consistency, and insight. One of the important distinctions of these characteristics is that a true model is more than a collection of views or graphical representations. As the authors say, "To be a true model, the system model needs to manage the depth, breadth, and associated boundary conditions of the system." (34)
The authors also assert that any effective solution-seeking process will satisfy 4 requirements: the process must consistently lead to the development of a successful system, the process must manage systems complexity well, the process must accommodate the three main problem classes (top-down, reverse, and middle-out engineering), and the process must lead to effective solutions across a broad range of customer needs. In the final sections of the book they demonstrate how MBSE meets these requirements. They concede in their summary that their definition of MBSE is broader than many others, and is deliberately broad to demonstrate the applicability of the approach across a wide spectrum of systems that might be analyzed or constructed.
While generally well-written, the text does occasional dive into pools of detail, or repeat certain ideas that the authors consider important, and occasionally one experiences the desperate need for a glossary. A few of the diagrams contain tiny fonts that border on unreadable. However, none of these observations are so insurmountable that they should discourage the curious reader.
Nuggets of insight gleaned from decades of experience are sprinkled throughout the book, such as:
"...separating the functional/behavioral domain from the architecture/synthesis domain is one of several means of managing complexity ..." (42)
"... the preservation of system behavior across decomposition is much less likely to occur when the systems engineering approach tends to focus on components/object first, because one implicitly rather than explicitly allocations functionality to the components regardless of the true needs of the system..." (81)
"... maintaining this separation requires a surprising amount of discipline... care must be taken that assumptions about the physical architecture are not made so prematurely that it creates artificial constrains on the system design." (85)
The references included a good representation of INCOSE source materials and systems thought-leaders, which were both appropriate, but not commonly used, thereby providing new perspectives on the material.
Both the authors and this reviewer recommend this book for systems engineers at all levels of experience and whatever their title, project managers, business process consultants, and acquisition professionals. The book is deliberately short, easy to read, and informative. My copy is already well-thumbed, with many marginal notations, and will receive a handy reference location on my book shelves.

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