Unleashing the Power of Model-Based V&V: How Your System Model Becomes a Roadmap to Your Verification Activities

This blog post provides a comprehensive overview of the insights I shared in a webinar I gave: Unleashing the Power of Model-Based V&V: How your System Model Becomes a Roadmap to Your Verification Activities.

Unleashing the Power of Model-Based Verification and Validation
In the realm of systems engineering, ensuring that a product meets customer requirements is paramount. One essential aspect of achieving this goal is through proper verification and validation (V&V) activities. Also key is creating verification requirements that serve as a coordination point between engineering and test. Too often, systems engineers overlook verification and do not give it the attention and effort that it truly deserves. Why is this? What can be done to educate the systems engineering community on how to better perform verification activities and write complete and verifiable requirements? What if it’s not as difficult as one thinks? Let’s take a look.

Understanding Verification Requirements
The verification aspects of a requirement delineate the criteria for successful verification and provide clarity on what needs to be done to verify the requirement. These verification aspects can be part of the requirement itself or created as a separate entity that is directly related to the requirement. The mnemonic device OMESS—Objective, Method, Environmental Conditions, Special Conditions, and Success Criteria—serves as a helpful framework for structuring verification requirements.

By addressing these aspects, systems engineers can ensure thorough and comprehensive verification planning. Early buy-in by your test team of these verification requirements can lead to a more thorough understanding of the requirements themselves. Often, the act of requiring your systems engineers to write the verification requirements and review them with the test team results in early discovery of errors in the requirement itself, resulting in fewer escapes down the road!

The Importance of Model-Based Planning
Model-based verification planning offers a systematic approach to designing and executing verification activities. By leveraging behavior models and architectural representations, engineers can gain invaluable insights into the system’s functionality and interdependencies. These models not only facilitate communication among stakeholders, but also serve as a roadmap for test planning. With model-based planning, engineers can streamline the verification process, identify potential gaps, and optimize resource allocation.

Strategies for Effective Implementation
Implementing model-based verification requires a concerted effort to integrate it seamlessly into the development process. Simulation, traceability, and visualization emerge as key strategies for identifying gaps and ensuring the robustness of verification activities. Through simulation, engineers can anticipate conflicts and uncertainties, thereby enhancing the accuracy of execution timelines. Traceability enhances the visibility of the linkage between verification requirements and activities, as well as all the other aspects of your systems architecture. Traceability allows gaps in verification coverage to be easily observable, allowing your systems engineer to correct and fill these in early in the design engineering cycle, creating a more effective design. This also catches errors and escapes before getting to formal verification activities where the cost to correct is significantly higher.

Visualization tools offer a clear representation of verification plans, fostering collaboration and consensus among team members. I strongly recommend that you use the model as a communication medium to work with all stakeholders, not just to test. The verification model should become the source of truth. Your verification plans (both document-based, and data-based) should be direct outputs of the model. If a change is needed, update the model, and then automatically rebuild the outputs, or push the changes up to the digital thread.

Leveraging Model-Based Verification for Success
Model-based verification holds immense potential for enhancing the quality and efficiency of V&V activities. By embracing this approach, systems engineers can mitigate risks, accelerate development cycles, and ultimately deliver superior products to customers. Moreover, the integration of model-based verification with digital thread tools further enhances data connectivity and collaboration across the development lifecycle. With a robust framework in place, organizations can navigate complex engineering challenges with confidence and precision.

Using a Holistic Approach
In conclusion, the journey toward mastering model-based verification and validation requires a holistic approach that encompasses planning, effective communication, and continuous refinement. By prioritizing the writing of verification requirements, embracing model-based planning methodologies, and leveraging advanced tools and techniques, systems engineers can unlock the full potential of V&V activities. Ultimately, it is through these concerted efforts that organizations can realize their vision of delivering innovative, reliable, and customer-centric solutions. On top of that, they can realize enormous cost-savings.

By following these guidelines and considering V&V as part of your requirements from the get-go, I think you’ll find that this sets you up for success in the end. And when you’re able to tell the project manager that they can safely save 13 weeks of production time—a true story from my own work history—you’ll be the company hero. At least for a day.

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