Configuration Management (CM) has evolved as a concept and as a practice since its introduction in the 1950s in the defense industry. The growing presence of Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), Model-Based Enterprise (MBE), and Digital Thread concepts in defense (and other industries) will soon herald new changes for CM. Traditional CM tools like KONFIG, CMPRO, CM Stat, and others will need to adapt, or they will quickly become outmoded in this new world. Even PLM system vendors who believed that their solutions were well-suited for CM automation must embrace new capabilities to satisfy the increasing needs of CM professionals.
Challenges Managing RFLP
As a case in point, consider MBSE and one of the key tenants of a Systems Engineering approach, the connection of Requirements to Functional to Logical to Physical structures (RFLP). While each of these structures can be managed inside of documents (Requirements Definition Document, Logical Architecture Diagram, Functional Decomposition Diagram, etc.), the design of complex systems is hampered by this approach. If you haven’t had to work in this space, consider how you trace a requirement through to the functional design down to the logical design and all the way through to one or more physical components. Doing this one time using collections of documents is frustrating. Reliving the process repeatedly throughout multiple change cycles of a product is enough to induce hair loss. Current practice in the area of managing RFLP seems to be tracking multiple structures (one for R, one for F, one for L, and multiple for P), revision controlling those structures, and interconnecting the structures with relationships for traceability. If that’s the current practice, the question is, which CM systems provide functionality to support it?
Your CM “Should” Handle It
There is no need to dive into the details of how various pieces of software support modeling of RFLP structures, or how they provide change control around those. What is important is that your CM automation software can support this type of practice. If your CM tool’s approach to MBSE, MBE, or Digital Thread is to “baseline the documents”, you should consider how quickly you can replace it. Products/platforms are only becoming more complex, and to economically sustain them in the field/fleet, your technical data management and CM tools need to offer more.
Contact us at Razorleaf if you have some questions about your CM system, we’d be happy to chat about it.