The traditional document-centric systems engineering paradigm is currently under slow transition to model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach. There are many reasons for the slowness of this transition. For instance, there are many long-term projects, rumors about unsuccessful applications of MBSE, too little information available how to proceed, disbelief, etc. However, the core barrier is definitely a cultural change. A journey to MBSE is long, and companies adopting it need guidance to help make paradigm shift rewarding. The first and the most important step in shifting to MBSE is to adopt sustainable modeling culture in the organization. I define modeling culture as a combination of modeling, model usage, and model governance, that together provides a productive way for applying model-driven development in the context of a particular organization. Only if modeling culture is successfully adopted can you can expect high value from MBSE. So: How to Build a Sustainable Modeling Culture?
The answer is simple:
Learn from the mistakes of others – Talk with professionals before you get going.
Think big, start small, and evolve – A good example is to at least build a proof of concept model before applying MBSE on a real project. It is a long process to adopt MBSE. The core mistake at the beginning is that people overestimate their abilities in the field of modeling. Knowing SysML, for instance, is at most 5% of what you need to know in order to be successful in MBSE.
Establish a Center of Excellence – An MBSE initiative needs to be coordinated by experienced system engineers in combination with modeling experts, presumably the group of people driving the MBSE initiative in the organization.
Adopt best practices – for this and all points above refer to the slides I presented at multiple conferences (NOSE 2013, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm; ICIST 2013, Kaunas):