Conference Paper: Graphical CONOPS Development to Enhance Model Based Systems Engineering

Title:  Graphical CONOPS Development to Enhance Model Based Systems Engineering

Publication Date: 5/19/2012

Conference: Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC), Orlando, FL, May 2012


The weakest link in the systems engineering lifecycle is often the connection between what the users need and what the system developers think the users need, together with reaching a shared understanding of the operational environment and associated constraints and dependencies. The current system development environment calls for user needs to be specified in a Concept of Operations (CONOPS), which provides a foundation of future system capabilities and describes typical scenarios that it will encounter. Given the size and complexity of today’s systems, CONOPS development can take considerable time and effort, which can cause the results to be incomplete and insufficient. This introduces misunderstanding and miscommunication early in the Systems Engineering lifecycle. This paper proposes a method allowing stakeholders to express their needs through a model-based approach to creating a graphical CONOPS leveraging gaming technology. The resulting CONOPS would provide system developers with direct access to the needs of stakeholders, and would enable the creation of Model Based System Engineering artifacts early in the development lifecycle. Current research and development efforts, interim findings, initial impressions gained from user feedback and recommendations are described, as well as the impacts of introducing immersive environments to help stakeholders reach a common mental model.