Eliminating Barriers to MBSE Adoption with Jama Software’s Companion MBSE

September 2, 2021 Jama Software

MBSE AdoptionAn organizational paradigm shift from document centric to model-based systems engineering can be daunting. The learning curve for systems engineers can be steep and the return on investment is often not immediately apparent.  

In a recent workshop on MBSE adoption, we walked through how Jama Software for Companion MBSE can be used to eliminate common MBSE challenges and provide tactics to help teams eliminate the barriers to broader adoption. We will demonstrate how Jama Connect’s Companion MBSE can be used to streamline a collaborative, data-driven approach and provide more immediate systems engineering value to larger numbers of stakeholders.  

In this demonstration, we cover: 

  • Using Jama Connect to facilitate implementation of MBSE
  • Benefits of Companion MBSE to the broader stakeholder community  
  • Keys to eliminating documents
  • Leverage OSLC and REST for Cross Tool linking

Below is an abbreviated transcript and a recording of the workshop.


In today’s hyper-connected world, we’re not only seeing increasing complexity of systems that are being built, but also experiencing increasing technological and sociological challenges in the work setting to develop those systems. Jama Connect helps address these challenges. Organizations can execute their MBSE journey without the headache of modeling languages or the licensing and rolling out of complex systems modeling tools.

Jama Connect for Companion MBSE is a completely web-based application that is designed to make it easy for any stakeholder technical or non-technical to create models, consume data and participate in a collaborative systems engineering process. The Companion MBSE template comes with data types to capture and segregate different types of requirements, behaviors, architecture, interfaces, and V & V data. It also has a structural template already laid out to organize the data and help users get started quickly.

We’re going to cover using Jama to facilitate that implementation of MBSE, then we’re going to talk about keys to eliminating documents. We’ll look at how you can leverage OSSE and rest for cross tool linking. And we’ll talk about the benefits of Companion MBSE to the broader stakeholder community model based systems. Engineering is more than a modeling tool. It is not simply a tool but a process that demands change to take place, not only at the systems level, but at the project and program levels.


RELATED: Getting Started with Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)


Document centered thinking and business practices needs to change at all levels in order to not only deal with system complexity, but to also become more agile organizationally, but leaping to a purely SysML tool is not a leap every organization is mature enough to tackle. MBSE is not all only about moving from document centric to a model. It’s also about being able to communicate the clarity that the modeled information gives to the stakeholders on other teams, whether that be at the implementation level or the program or customer level.

The first step every organization can take is to become more information centric. Our Companion MBSE is designed to do just that. Under the hood, Jama Software’s Companion MBSE is composed of an easy to navigate structure for the data. Automatic version control of the data and baselining, a model language, a diagram editor, a workflow engine, a collaboration engine, document import and export and model integration with wide varieties of tools in your ecosystem like other SysML tools, test execution and more.

Companion MBSE is pre-configured with a meta-model that govern which elements were allowed to be connected together. And which type of TraceLink names are used when elements are connected. For instance, a need can be related to a validation test and its relationship name is validate. A system requirement can be related to a system architecture block and its relationship name is satisfies. Jama Connect automatically chooses the correct relationship name for the user. Users do not need to know any syntax or language.

They just associate one element with another and connect a prize applies the pre-configured trace rules to those elements. You can also easily extend these data element types and relationship names by creating your own. There are distinct benefits from moving away from a document centric to information centric paradigm. Discrete item types, and link names, make it easy to analyze and query the model. Teams using documents, wikis or legacy tools often go through a manual process to relate all that data together, which can be error prone, introduced inconsistent data, or when performed after the fact yield stale inaccurate data.


RELATED: MBSE Tool Maturity – Where does your organization stand?


Jama Connect lets you surface in real time data and display it on the model dashboard. Dashboards can be a central place for any stakeholder technical or nontechnical to come away with an understanding of the current status of the systems engineering effort. Let’s take a look at Jama in action. So I’ve opened up my model, my model essentially is just a Jama Connect project. We have the building blocks of a structure. So on the left, you see the structure of the model, all the different types of data types that we’re collecting in this model.

The thing important data types that we have that come out of the box with Companion MBSE are our needs. So a need item type, that’s where you would capture, you would use this type of element to capture a stakeholder need or an expectation or a requirement. Some regulatory requirements or things like that. Then we have a system requirements. So we’re segregating different types of requirements. System requirement has its own object. So you can demonstrate traceability between the need. So if you have customer requirements that are coming in as need as a need, you can really easily demonstrate that traceability.

We have a third requirement item type is a subsystem requirement. You are not constrained to use our specific nomenclature. You can extend these item types. You can rename them as well. We also then have a use case type. So, this particular use item type in Jama Connect is used to capture textural based more traditional use case flows in a more verbal textural. We also have that the capability to more granularly define the elements within a use case. So if you have actors, if you have different states or activities and you need to granularly break those out of a textual use case so that you can trace them in some way you can do that.

We also have a part. A part is more like a SysML 2.0 construct where a part might be used to capture structural elements, such as system architecture elements, or function blocks or physical objects or abstract objects. We have the capability to capture an interface as well as various different verification validation objects. So we had Jama segregate, verifications and validations. So it’s really easy to demonstrate that you have done both verification and validation of the objects. The model and the other types are extensible. So while the Companion MBSE comes with just a handful out of the box, the ones on the top, you can create your own additional ones to add to your model and extend it for your specific needs. And you can also rename things.

So if you don’t call something a subsystem requirement, maybe you call it a component requirement, or maybe you call it a software requirement, or maybe you even call it a user story. You can rename things as well. Now, Jama Connect does come with a method, we call it our Companion MBSE method. It’s a top-down approach top down where you have at the most abstract within my model, I have my needs but it supports analysis, design and specification. And it starts off with a needs analysis. So, when I want to look at my needs analysis I can click on something in the tree and then it shows in context in the main area of the system.

Now my needs analysis I’m capturing each need as an individual item, typically like you would in a spreadsheet. So I could look at the different views of the needs, whether I have a spreadsheet view or a rich text view. Our diagramming capability is built right in as well. So, when you want to communicate more clearly to your audience a diagrammatic expression of your needs users don’t have to go to external tools. You don’t have to go to a modeling tool per se, but you can build those diagrams right here in Jama.

You want a Companion MBSE is designed for anyone to get started with your MBSE journey and then bringing in and marrying up diagrams right here in the context of the needs is a really powerful thing. You don’t need to be an expert to know how to draw boxes and lines and add textual information to communicate the information that you need to your audience. You also have the ability to do the collaboration that Jama is really famous for. So, if I need to bring people in to look at this particular diagram, we have the capability to add that comment even use at mentioning. So, if I wanted to add, mention a coworker, I can just mention their name.

Can you verify whether we need the X, Y, Z and the act that the comments within Jama are actionable? So it’s not a static comment but I can tell Alex, Hey, I need you to answer this question specifically, or maybe I’m just a read only user of this Jama model, and I’m looking at something and I want to raise an issue, or they be an engineer and I need someone to make a decision about something I’m unclear. I need some direction, just help me make a decision about that. Under the covers comments go into people’s email, they can reply back through email. They can answer questions, or they could click on the link in that email that would essentially take them right to this context, and then they can answer back.

So now we can have that sort of a conversation live captured part of the auditable trail and bringing more people into participate. If I wanted to, I could have even had mentioned my customer by just putting in their email address, and then my customer could have replied back to the comment thread. Well, it’s all about having more people being able to participate in the MBSE process.

Watch the full training to learn more about overcoming barriers to MBSE adoption.



Previous Article
Ensuring FDA Compliance for Your Digital Health Solution
Ensuring FDA Compliance for Your Digital Health Solution

Over the last decade, digital health solutions have become increasingly important, powering revolutionary d...

Next Article
Innovation Insights Podcast Episode 2: Best Practices for Authoring Requirements
Innovation Insights Podcast Episode 2: Best Practices for Authoring Requirements

In this episode of the Jama Software© Innovation Insights Podcast Series. our host, Jeremy Johnson, Vice Pr...