Definition of MBSE – Revised

Definition of MBSE – Revised

What is MBSE?

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is systems engineering with the formal application of models to make engineering information accessible to machines to support the stakeholders.

Tim Weilkiens

This is my current definition of MBSE. I do not insist that it is the definition. But it is my understanding of MBSE that I currently work with and that I will always use as a reference until I find a better one.

The fact that MBSE is the application of models in systems engineering is somehow clear from the name MBSE. Therefore, in my definition, I looked at the purpose and answered the question of why I use models.

On the answer “accessible to machines,” you can, of course, go off again with the why question and come to many benefits. But I would not want to include that additionally in the definition.

As described in the last blog post on the definition of MBSE, there is currently no definition in a standard.
The last blog post triggered a constructive discussion on LinkedIn, which also led me to adjust my definition from my previous blog post.

Here are a few notable statements from the LinkedIn discussion that I agree with:

  • MBSE is not something different than systems engineering, but a special kind of system engineering.
  • Model execution is a valuable aspect of MBSE and keeps the models alive and consistent.
  • Consider “the journey from system thinking to systems feeling and systems awareness”. Do not focus on the MBSE approaches but on the systems.
  • If we define the term “model”, we have the answer. Indeed, the definition of model is another interesting question. I plan to cover it in another blog post (see Definition MBSE Model).

INCOSE’s definition of MBSE is not contradictory but highlights a different aspect.

The formalized application of modeling to support system requirements, design, analysis, verification and validation activities beginning in the conceptual design phase and continuing throughout development and later life cycle phases.

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