Conference Paper: An Evidence-Based Systems Engineering (SE) Data Item Description

Title: An Evidence-Based Systems Engineering (SE) Data Item Description

Publication Date 3/19/2013

Conference 11th Annual Conference


Evidence-based SE is an extension of model-based SE that emphasizes not only using SysML or other system models as a basis of program decisions, but also the use of other models to produce evidence that the system models describe a feasible system. Such evidence is generally desired, but often is not produced because it is not identified as a project deliverable in a Data Item Description (DID). Going forward with such unproven solutions frequently leads to large program overruns.

Based on experience in developing and using such a DID on a very large project, we summarize the content and form of such a DID, and a rationale for its use. Its basic content is evidence that if a system were produced with the specified Architecture, it would:

  • Satisfy the specified Operational Concept and Requirements;
  • Be developable within the specified Budget and Schedule;
  • Provide a superior return on investment over alternatives in terms of mission effectiveness; and
  • Provide satisfactory outcomes for the system’s success-critical stakeholders.

One key factor of the DID is that the content of the evidence be risk-balanced between having too little evidence (often the case today) and having too much (analysis paralysis). Thus, it is not a one-size-fits-all DID, but one which has ways to be tailored to a project’s most critical evidence needs.