ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023: Model-Based Systems Engineering

Engineer uses computer to analyze aerospace satellite while adhering to MBSSE methods in ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023.

Today’s products contain systems that are becoming increasingly complex and software intensive. This presents challenges for organizations to effectively manage all the data across the lifecycle for these systems. Model-based systems and software engineering (MBSSE) has consequently become a fast and growing standard approach to systems engineering for digital transformation as it manages complexity, maintains consistency, and ensures traceability during system development. ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023—Systems And Software Engineering – Methods And Tools For Model-Based Systems And Software Engineering details tools and methods for MBSSE.

Importance of Model-Based Systems Engineering

Model-Basel Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is the formalized application of modeling to support system requirements, design, analysis, and verification and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout development and later life cycle phases. It is a systems and software engineering approach centered on evolving models, which serve as the “main major source of knowledge” about the system or software entity under consideration. Models are used to explore systems elements’ structure, behavior, and operational characteristics; they are used to evaluate design alternatives and validate assumptions faster and earlier in the system life cycle. MBSE facilitates timely learning of properties and behaviors, which enables fast feedback on requirements and design characteristics to the involved stakeholders.

Common stakeholders/industries who use MBSE include aerospace, rail, manufacturing, medical, automotive, and defense companies. For example, these industries can examine characteristics for large and complex systems, such as satellites, aircrafts, and medical systems. When a solution must be proven practical beyond all possible doubt (e.g., before lunching into space or connecting to the first patients), models contain this documented information for compliance and impact analysis needs. 

What Is ISO 24641?

ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023 deals with the tool capabilities and methods for model-based systems and software engineering (MBSSE). The standard specifies:

  • A reference model for the overall structure and processes of MBSSE-specific processes
  • How the components of the reference model fit together
  • Interrelationships between the components of the reference model
  • MBSSE-specific processes for model-based systems and software engineering, which are described in terms of purpose, inputs, outcomes and tasks
  • Methods to support the defined tasks of each MBSSE-specific process
  • Tool capabilities to automate or semi-automate tasks or methods

The processes defined in ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023 are applicable for a single project, as well as for an organization performing multiple projects or an enterprise. They are further applicable for managing and performing the systems and software engineering activities based on models within any stage in the life cycle of a system-of-interest.

The MBSSE Reference Model

ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023 details that the model-based systems and software engineering (MBSSE) reference model is divided into four process groups:

  1. Plan MBSSE: identifies processes required as prerequisites for modelling
  2. Build Models: producing useful models in an effective way (verifying and validating models) and transforming them to shareable information and knowledge
  3. Perform MBSSE: encompasses assessing and scoping, planning, and technical management (setting up the MBSSE approach) along with resources, knowledge, and knowledge management activities (for the mid-term and long-term perspectives)
  4. Support Models: focuses on the technical and engineering data management aspects to support core MBSSE processes and traditional engineering activities

The standard further categorizes these four process groups into MBSSE-specific processes and describes each process in terms of the following six attributes: 1) name of the process, 2) purpose of the process, 3) inputs to produce outcomes, 4) process outcomes, 5) tasks to achieve the outcomes, and 6) method and tool capabilities for performing tasks effectively and efficiently. In short, ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023 focuses on the tasks, methods and tools in terms of these process groups and the MBSSE-specific processes defined in the reference model. The MBSSE reference model concerns human-made systems composed of one or more of the following system elements—hardware, software, data, humans, services to users, procedures, facilities, materials, and naturally occurring entities. It can be used either independently or in conjunction with existing standards like ISO/IEC/IEEE 15288, ISO/IEC/IEE 12207, ISO/PAS 19450, IEEE 1278, IEEE 1516, ISO/IEC 19505, and more.

ISO/IEC/IEEE 24641:2023—Systems And Software Engineering – Methods And Tools For Model-Based Systems And Software Engineering is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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