Follow us on Twitter Find us on LinkedIn

submit to reddit


Systems exist wherever these three are present: parts, relationships, and a purpose.

The 2nd edition of "A Primer for Model-Based Systems Engineering" addresses the elementary principles of MBSE in the context of practical illustrations. The book addresses the foundational concepts in a manner designed to benefit the newcomer and experienced practitioner alike. The brief excerpts below are drawn from across the primer, providing a sense of the scope and flavor of the MBSE principles discussed.

Chapter 1: What is a System

Systems must be understood in the context of what they can do and the world in which they will do it. It is not enough to see the system as a sum of the operations of the component functions. It must been seen as a functioning whole. This is the systems viewpoint. Page 6

What may be considered a “part” in the context of a particular system may be a complete "system" in its own right. This all depends upon the point from which the system is viewed and the resulting system boundary decisions. Page 8

Chapter 2: What is Systems Engineering

The systems engineer must keep the vision of the entire system in mind while moving through the process of designing the system that will form the solution to meet the needs of the stakeholders. Losing this focus will cause the design to fail to meet those needs in one or perhaps many ways. Page 12

It is the job of the systems engineer to provide the coordination and communication that will allow the power of a multidisciplinary approach to benefit the problem-solving effort without being impeded by the potential miscommunication and friction between the disciplines. Page 13

Chapter 3: What is a Model

In the world of engineering design, models connect the idea behind a design solution with its implementation as a real system. These models attempt to represent the entities of the engineering problem (opportunities) and their relationships to each other and connect them to the proposed solution or existing mechanism that addresses the problem. The model used in this way is the centerpiece of MBSE. Page 31

A system’s essential defining properties are the products of the interactions of its parts, not the sum of the actions of the parts considered separately. This means that a successful system language must be able to capture these essential interactions in a way that accurately depicts this synergy. Page 35

Chapter 4: What is Model-Based Systems Engineering

As the system is developed in increasing detail, or “granularity,” a layered structure takes shape. The engineering process follows these layers, drilling deeper and deeper into the system design. Every iteration of the systems engineering process increases the level of specificity, removes ambiguity, and resolves unknowns. Page 66

The layer-by-layer approach of MBSE assures that the domains are considered in context. One of the critical system design mistakes is losing the system context. This happens as a natural outgrowth of thinking about the design analytically—that is, by tearing it apart into its components and focusing at that level. Page 67