[i05] Collaborative Tools for System- and Safety-Engineering – Ongoing Discussions

Collaborating in virtual Engineering; (c) "endostock", Fotolia.comWhat are real „collaborative” tools in the system engineering process of complex systems? – Throughout today’s product development process there are a lot of typical islands of data, e.g. DOORS for Requirement Management, Visio for the Architecture drawings, Simulink for the analysis, FaultTree+ for Safety-/Risk-assessment, … and MS-Office to glue it all together. Independent of the benefit of such programs, if it comes to handover of produced results to the next team, there is usually a lot of effort required to read, understand and re-present (in the proper meaning of the word) them for the individual next analysis or procedure. Manual conversion costs time and quality.

How can the process of system-, safety-, software- and also maintenance-engineering be streamlined by a really integrated solution? Which application cases exist and what are practical experiences? – This question was the motivation for a discussion started in march 2015 in several groups in LinkedIn, see below.

Such a platform should – maybe in individual views – ideally support the whole process from the bid phase over development, integration, testing down to operation and maintenance.

Here are some criteria that come to mind:

  • central repository for easy knowledge storage and retrieval (for textual, tabular, graphical, binary data);
  • allowing intuitive graphical definition of architectures over all levels and of hierarchical interfaces/ports;
  • support for fault behavior description and analyses (e.g. FTA, FMEA, Diagnostics, …);
  • allow definition of modular reusable building-blocks of various system-entities (libraries);
  • capabilities/connections to quantitative/modelbased system analysis/simulation;
  • providing version management/baselining;
  • generation of tailored views and reports;
  • good support for V&V and traceability;
  • open interfaces to established tools;
  • multi-user (of course) incl. definition of roles;
  • web-based or standalone;
  • applicable also for training purpose/maintenance instructions;

The discussion has been started in the following LinkedIn-groups, bringing already a lot of very interesting comments:

Feel invited to these forums to learn about some very exciting tool and platform developments going on or to post your own ideas and thoughts.