Model based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

Model based Systems Engineering (MBSE)

What is MBSE?

The full form of MBSE, Model-Based Systems Engineering, represents a major step forward in the engineering landscape. It constitutes an integrative and comprehensive method of system design and development. Unlike traditional methods, MBSE replaces reliance on documents and spreadsheets with a model as the principal information exchange medium, introducing a sophisticated representation of systems that facilitates a better understanding of system behaviour, performance, and requirements.
Basic Skills

Industries that use MBSE

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is used across various industries that require complex system design and integration. Some of the primary industries using MBSE include:

Aerospace and Defense

Companies in these industries have to manage highly complex systems with high safety and reliability requirements. MBSE helps manage this complexity and ensure that all parts of the system integrate smoothly.


MBSE is used to design and test complex systems such as electric or autonomous vehicles, where various subsystems need to work together seamlessly.


MBSE helps design and manage complex networks and services, ensuring all components function together correctly.

Healthcare and Biomedical

Complex medical devices and health systems can be designed using MBSE to ensure safety and efficacy.


Whether designing new power plants, optimizing renewable energy systems, or managing grid networks, MBSE can help.

Transportation and Infrastructure

MBSE can aid in designing efficient and safe transportation systems and other large-scale infrastructure projects.

Consumer Electronics

For the design and production of complex electronic systems and devices, MBSE can offer significant benefits.
MBSE offers a way to manage system complexity, ensure component interoperability, and streamline the design process in each of these industries. The result is typically higher-quality systems and faster development times.

Types of System Engineering Models

The breadth and depth of model types in engineering design applied in MBSE are quite diverse, each serving a unique purpose and playing a distinctive role in the overall process.

Structural Models

These models map the system’s architecture, demonstrating the elements and their interconnections.

Behavioral Models

Represent the dynamic facets of the system, encapsulating the sequence of operations and their impact on the system state.

Requirement Models

Depict the system’s response to specified use cases, clearly connecting system requirements and design.

Parametric Models

Are utilized to capture performance or constraint relationships among distinct system elements, often for quantitative analysis.

Simulation Models

Validate system behavior and performance under various conditions, usually employed to analyze potential solutions.

Illustration of Model Based Engineering

Imagine a team tasked with the design of an autonomous vehicle employing the MBSE methodology. Initially, the team designs a structural model displaying the major subsystems of the vehicle, such as navigation, propulsion, and communication. Subsequently, behavioral models illustrate how the vehicle responds to differing inputs and conditions.

Requirement models outline the vehicle’s functionality in specific scenarios, while parametric models might demonstrate how modifying a component’s parameters might influence overall system performance. Lastly, simulation models offer a virtual testing ground for the vehicle under diverse conditions and scenarios, thereby validating the design.

Job Disciplines involved in MBSE

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a multidisciplinary approach often requiring input from various job disciplines. Here are some of the key roles that are typically involved in MBSE:

Systems Engineers

They are at the core of MBSE projects. Their job is to understand and translate the end-users’ needs into system requirements. They also design, integrate, and manage complex systems over their life cycles.

Software Engineers

They often work closely with systems engineers, especially in projects where software plays a significant role. They might be responsible for developing code, creating software architecture, and implementing software components within the system.

Hardware Engineers

They’re responsible for the design and development of the hardware components of a system.

Project Managers

They oversee the project to ensure it is completed on time and within budget. They also manage resources and coordinate between different teams.

Quality Assurance (QA) Specialists

They validate and verify the system to ensure it meets the defined requirements and standards.

Data Analysts/Scientists

They can help analyze the system’s performance and other data related to the system.

Domain Experts

Depending on the nature of the system, experts from specific fields (like aerospace, automotive, medical, etc.) might be needed to provide insights and expertise.

Modeling and Simulation Engineers

These specialists often play a critical role in MBSE, developing and validating detailed system models and simulations.

Configuration Managers

They manage system configurations, especially in larger projects where multiple versions and variants of the system might exist.
These roles can vary significantly depending on the complexity and specific requirements of the project. Also, in smaller projects, one person might wear multiple hats; in larger projects, these roles might be divided among multiple individuals or teams.

Skills needed to do MBSE

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is a multidisciplinary approach requiring a diverse skill set. Here are some of the key skills needed:

Systems Thinking

Is the ability to understand complex systems, including how various components interact and work together to perform the system’s function.

Modeling Skills

They often work closely with systems engineers, especially in projects where software plays a significant role. They might be responsible for developing code, creating software architecture, and implementing software components within the system.

Software Skills

Knowledge of specific MBSE tools (like Enterprise Architect or others) is important. Depending on the role and the project, familiarity with software development and coding could also be beneficial.

Technical Knowledge

Depending on the industry, in-depth technical knowledge in the relevant domain (like aerospace, automotive, IT, etc.) might be required.

Project Management

The ability to manage projects effectively, including resource allocation, timeline management, and risk assessment, can be beneficial.


Since MBSE projects often involve various stakeholders, good communication skills are important to facilitate collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Analytical Skills

This includes understanding and analyzing complex problems and proficiency in mathematical modeling and simulation.

Requirements Analysis

This involves understanding the needs of the end-users, translating these needs into system requirements, and managing these requirements throughout the system’s lifecycle.

Verification and Validation

Skills in testing, verification, and validation are needed to ensure the system meets its requirements and performs as expected.

Continuous Learning

Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, the ability and willingness to keep learning and updating skills are crucial.
These are broad categories, and the specific skills needed might vary depending on the project’s role and nature.

Techniques in Systems Engineering

A wide array of systems engineering techniques contribute to the effectiveness of MBSE:
Enterprise Architecture Principles

Requirement Engineering

This assists in capturing, analyzing, documenting, and managing system requirements, ensuring the system fulfills its intended purpose.

Interface Management

It guarantees seamless interaction among system components by defining, controlling, and managing interfaces.

Risk Management

This strategy identifies potential system threats and devises strategies to handle these risks.

Validation and Verification

These techniques ascertain that the system complies with the stipulated requirements and accomplishes its intended purpose.
Business Process Reengineering

Industry Standards for MBSE

Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is supported by several industry standards, which help ensure the approach’s interoperability, reliability, and effectiveness. Here are some of the most important ones:

ISO 15288

This international standard from the International Organization for Standardization defines the processes needed to produce a system successfully, and it can serve as a foundational framework for MBSE.

SysML (Systems Modeling Language)

This standardized graphical modeling language was developed to support systems engineering. It allows engineers to model systems using a variety of diagrams.

OMG’s UML (Unified Modeling Language)

While UML is typically used for software engineering, it’s also applicable to systems engineering and can be used in conjunction with SysML in an MBSE context.


This is an open and independent modeling language for enterprise architecture, which different tool vendors and consulting firms support.

IEEE 15288.1 (Standard for Application of Systems Engineering on Defense Programs)

This standard provides specific tailoring of ISO 15288 for defense programs.

ASME EASE (Enterprise-A Systems Engineering)

This is a framework and standard from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the application of systems engineering at the enterprise level.

The application of these standards can vary greatly depending on the specific needs and goals of a given systems engineering project.

Tools used for MBSE

In Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) context, several software tools and IT systems are commonly used to support the process. These include:
Agile solution delivery

SysML Modeling Tools

These tools provide a graphical interface for creating SysML diagrams and models that describe the system’s architecture. Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is the leading SysML modeling tool in use today.

Requirements Management Tools

These tools, such as IBM DOORS and Jama Software, are used to manage and track system requirements. They often interface with SysML tools.

Simulation and Analysis Tools

Depending on the specific field or application, various tools may be used to simulate and analyze system models. Examples could include MATLAB and Simulink, ANSYS, and others.

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Tools

These tools, like Siemens Teamcenter or PTC Windchill, manage the entire lifecycle of a product from inception through design and manufacture to service and disposal.

Collaboration and Version Control Systems

These tools, like GitHub or Subversion, can help manage versions of system models and support collaboration among multiple engineers.

Model Checking and Verification Tools

These are used to validate that the system model meets its requirements and adheres to defined constraints.

The specific tools and systems used can vary greatly depending on the organization’s needs and preferences and the specific project.

How Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect supports MBSE

Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect is a versatile tool that supports Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) in various ways:

SysML Modeling

Enterprise Architect provides full support for Systems Modeling Language (SysML), a standardized modeling language for systems engineering. This allows engineers to use different types of diagrams to describe and analyze a system’s behavior and structure.

Requirements Management

The tool can manage system requirements and ensure they are properly linked with the system’s design elements. This helps traceability from requirements to design and implementation.


Enterprise Architect supports collaborative work, which is crucial for systems engineering projects. Multiple users can work on the same model simultaneously.


With its built-in simulation capabilities, Enterprise Architect can execute behavioral models to validate system behavior. This can aid in identifying potential issues early in the design phase.


Enterprise Architect can generate documentation from the system model. This helps ensure everyone has the latest, most accurate information, and it assists in maintaining an accurate historical record of the system’s development.


The tool can integrate with other software applications, such as requirements management tools and version control systems. It can fit well into the existing IT landscape and support an end-to-end MBSE approach.

Model Validation

It also provides model validation features, ensuring that the created models are consistent and adhere to the rules of the used modeling language.
Like any tool, Enterprise Architect’s effectiveness in supporting MBSE will depend on how well it’s used by the team, which in turn depends on factors like training, experience, and the project’s complexity.

The Importance of Systems Engineering

Systems engineering, as defined by its methodology, is critical in today’s complex product development landscape. With increased product and system complexity, traditional document-based approaches are insufficient to efficiently manage intricate interdependencies and impacts of changes. This is where MBSE and its benefits come into play, providing:

Enhanced Communication

MBSE’s visual models encourage better communication among various stakeholders, fostering a shared understanding of the system.

Increased Traceability

Models allow traceability from the requirements to the design, implementation, and testing phases, providing a coherent link across the development lifecycle.

Reduced Risk

By testing system designs virtually, MBSE can foresee and resolve problems early in the design process, thus reducing the risk of costly changes later on.

Efficient Change Management

MBSE’s holistic approach allows engineers to swiftly and accurately evaluate the impact of changes.
Model-Based Systems Engineering, or MBSE, presents an effective method to design and develop complex systems. By leveraging various system models and engineering techniques, MBSE improves communication, enhances traceability, lowers risk, and facilitates efficient change management. This methodology is spearheading the successful creation.


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MBSE stands for Model-Based Systems Engineering. It is a modern engineering approach that uses models as the primary medium for information exchange instead of traditional documents.

MBSE offers several benefits, including enhanced stakeholder communication, improved traceability across the development lifecycle, risk reduction through early problem detection, and efficient change management.

Model-based engineering is a methodology that uses models as the primary means of information exchange. These models provide a holistic and integrated representation of the system under development, facilitating better understanding and analysis.

Systems engineering is an interdisciplinary field that designs and manages complex systems over their life cycles. It ensures that all aspects of a system are considered and integrated into a whole.

Types of models in engineering design include structural models, behavioral models, requirement models, parametric models, and simulation models. Each serves a unique purpose in the design and development process.

Consider the development of an autonomous vehicle. Using MBSE, various models are created to represent subsystems, behaviour in response to inputs and conditions, functionality in specific scenarios, performance impact when changing parameters, and overall validation under different conditions.

MBSE employs several systems engineering techniques, such as requirement engineering, interface management, risk management, and validation and verification.

Some different model-driven methodologies include Requirement-Driven Design, Design-Driven Requirements, and Test-Driven Development. These methodologies emphasize different aspects of the development process, but all utilize models as a primary information exchange medium.

In MBSE, systems engineering and analysis involve designing and managing complex systems over their life cycles. Analysis is conducted to ensure that all components of a system are considered and properly integrated, fulfilling specified requirements.

In system simulation, models are used to predict the behavior of a system under different conditions. Types of system simulation include deterministic simulation, stochastic simulation, discrete event simulation, and continuous simulation.

MBSE encourages advanced modeling by offering an organized, consistent framework for developing, managing, and communicating system models. It ensures that models provide a holistic and comprehensive representation of the system, enhancing understanding and facilitating efficient design and development.