Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is getting touted as the next best thing and the newest methodology for lowering product development costs. A 6-year research project showed a 55% reduction in total development costs compared to projects not using MBSE.

Model-Based Systems Engineering is an evolution of SE methods that emphasizes models in place of document-centric design artifacts to help improve outcomes for development projects that are too complex and difficult for traditional approaches. MBSE is a foundational reorganization of engineering methods and the underlying technology stack. It requires re-thinking the entire development process and being able to institute the cultural and organizational changes necessary to adopt new ways of working.

MBSE represents a shift away from document-centered design artifacts, and employs standardized models and methodologies combined with a common language. This enables team members to communicate more effectively, iterate more rapidly and understand all aspects of the system design.

In fact, case studies from a document search conducted by Sandia in 2016 showed than an MBSE approach can significantly improve project performance and engineering efficiency while reducing rework and late discovery of defects.

While MBSE has significant advantages to the product development lifecycle, it’s not a panacea for every situation. Before you consider an overhaul of your processes for MBSE, you should ask yourself the following:

  • Is your product complex? Is it one of dozens that gets integrated into a far more complex product, such as one element within a commercial aircraft or commercial vehicle? Product complexity can be characterized by a large number of unique components in the system and their interactions, high levels of development knowledge, and an extremely detailed system description.


  • Does your product operate in a complex environment Environmental factors include stringent regulatory requirements, standards adherence, support for numerous or unique interfaces, and a large number of stakeholders.


  • Will your product have a long lifecycle or be the first in a new product line? Lengthy development cycles of a year or more or those for products with a lifespan of many years are typically challenging development projects that may benefit from MBSE. A brand-new product that will be followed by subsequent models can also be a good potential candidate.

If your development project aligns with these three considerations, then taking an MBSE may well deliver substantial benefits.

If you want to learn more about MBSE, download our Whitepaper Is Model-Based Systems Engineering for You?

Jim Mitchell

Jim Mitchell

Advisory Systems Engineer

Jim Mitchell is an Advisory Systems Engineer with an accomplished background in aerospace engineering. Before joining Base2, Jim worked on the Space Shuttle program in Houston. Jim augments his deep technical background with experience in project valuation, structured decision making, market strategy and supply chain awareness. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas and a Master of Science in Finance from Seattle University..