Friday 25 March 2016

Considering MBSE methods as model-to-model (MDA) transformations

During a recent discussion at the INCOSE Working Group there was a comparison between Model Driven Architecture (MDA) and Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE). It promoted an old friend to raise a point that he felt that his organization does apply MDA techniques in MBSE because they transform models from one form to another. They may not call it MDA - and it may be semi-automated or manual - but fundamentally there is an underlying concept of a model-driven transformation that exists. I really liked this idea.

One method is to transform use cases into functional requirements via actions in an activity diagram. With the right tool customization, I can explain and show an engineer who knows nothing about SysML how to do this in 10 minutes. It's a very simple method and very simple to explain. It's amazing what they can come up with. Simple methods can be used to embody and analyze very complex behaviors and “model driven transformation” is a neat way of thinking about it.

Ultimately teams use Model-based Systems Engineering methods to transform ideas into other ideas. The transform may be model-to-model (M2M), model-to-text (M2T), or text-to-model (T2M). The adage that you don’t need something complex to explain something complex applies. Using a set of simple transformations we can assemble an end-to-end process that flows information across teams and achieves astounding results. We can move from static pools of silo'd knowledge:

To business level transformation of ideas (notice the use of the «block» notation at the bottom ;-):

 (if we can get all the teams to all agree that is, ha ha).

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