Beyond Buzzword Bingo: Practical MBSE Part 1


Beyond Buzzword Bingo: Practical MBSE Part 1

During a recent meeting with a potential client, I mentioned Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE). He crinkled his nose a bit and asked me if Engility had any real success stories implementing MBSE and delivering actual value to the government. I explained that we have a number of specific DOD success stories and provided him with some details. What I didn’t do was mention familiar concepts like “Single Source of Truth” and traceability of models. I told him that a MBSE strategy without specific tools and templates set up to deliver actual value for the program is nothing more than Buzzword Bingo.

He slammed his fist on the table and said, “EXACTLY!”

It wasn’t hard to see that we were on the same page. In that meeting, I didn’t need to explain that the most important thing to understand is that MBSE is more than just a process framework.

Getting Past the Buzzwords

Many organizations face the same challenge with implementing MBSE—if they don’t get past the buzzwords and policies to an actual plan, they will never deliver actual value to a program.

Because each client is unique, we at Engility built a collaborative MBSE solution lab to develop tools and templates to drive immediate value. Some clients need process guides and frameworks for assessing architecture artifacts. Other clients need a more practical approach of using templates to drive commonality in the architecture products. By standing up a MBSE lab, we can build prototype solutions, demonstrate them to our clients, get rapid feedback and make changes in real time.

Many people confuse science and engineering. Scientists attempt to understand the nature of the universe—any discovery is a good thing. Engineers are all about solving hard problems—if the discovery doesn’t add value to a specific situation, then it is set aside. There is a time and place to discover for discovery’s sake, and then there are times we need to solve for a specific problem quickly.

Engility considers this distinction discovery-with-a-purpose in our approach to MBSE. While we value the strategy, we value the results more. We are an engineering services company at our very core—ENGineering is even in our name.

  1. Build a set of common tools and templates meant to drive specific value to our clients.
  2. Teach our program managers and systems engineers how to adapt the tools and techniques to specific use cases through white papers, playbooks and lessons learned.
  3. Go beyond the “motherhood and apple pie” strategy approach and deliver tools that are executable today.
  4. Align with the DoD Digital Engineering Strategy.
When listed as four items it seems pretty simple, but we at Engility have put a lot of effort into a collaborative digital engineering approach that provides practical guidance and tools to help make strategy real for each of our clients.

Beyond Buzzword Bingo We collaborate with our clients to develop an evolution roadmap for success in adopting MBSE and driving specific value at every step in the process. We want our approach to take what you need and leave the rest.

Oh, by the way, for those playing at home: BINGO! 😉

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Posted by John Sahlin

I am a Ph.D., CISSP, and the Technical Director for Engility’s Defense and Security Group (DSG). I am responsible for driving technical solutions and strategy for DSG clients. I have more than 25 years of experience developing systems engineering and cybersecurity solutions for both commercial and public sector clients. To find out more about how Engility is applying tools and techniques to make MBSE real for our clients’ missions, feel free to contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).