Systems engineering white paper

System Engineering is a wide area. The scope of the paper is focused on the methods and tools used for logical behavior descriptions.The continuous growth of embedded electronics has dramatically increased the design complexity; are industry actors prepared to design large and opened systems of systems?

Ten major companies in Europe were interviewed. They have heterogeneous methods and tools to describe behavior logic but the common state of art is the extensive use of textual requirements in DOORS databases, deliveries being cadenced along a V-cycle development process. Traceability between different deliveries (functional behavior, tests, safety analysis) is managed through reference to textual fields. Tests are most often defined after specifications, rather than together with specifications.

Model based system engineering is more and more prevalent but deployments are local and heterogeneous. Agile methods are known for software development but not applied on system engineering. The use of agile methods when it occurs comes from local initiatives.

Interviewees face important challenges:

projects get bigger with teams of over 100 p. distributed around the world; the scale of software system is so large that only virtual validation can achieve the needed coverage; projects cycles get shorter, innovation raises level of risks: new technologies have unpredictable impacts, functions cross the whole car areas and even IT cloud infrastructure but organization is set in silos obstructing system engineering ability, tools have a lot of limitations, are not compatible to each other, are not prepared for new technologies, people are used to work with documents and while they are struggling with on-going projects they are reluctant to changes, skills are not available for Model Based System Engineering, companies are project oriented and management expects short term Return On Investment proofs, making it is difficult to find R&D budget for methods and tools. Improvement plans are mostly set locally, they try to leverage best practices and address tools, technologies and process. It is also important to leverage standardization. Some mentioned strategic plans at company level.

CIL4Sys proposes a path for a great ambition:

to use an executable model of system behavior as the backbone of design deliverables (specification, test-cases, simulation). to deploy the agile method SCRUM on system engineering developments. Since products developed are now software driven, traditional industries should focus on making their digital mockups alive, the digital behavior not being faked but being representative of the system design.

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