Agile Systems Engineering in Complex Scenarios


In context of accompanying research, CiLoCharging partners in FH Dortmund have published a scientific paper “Agile Systems Engineering in Complex Scenarios” in IEEE IDAACS 2021 conference, in the Special Stream in Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. The authors, Carsten Wolff, Philipp Tendyra, and Carsten Wiecher have taken part in the conference which was held online from September 22nd till 25th 

What problem does the paper address? 

Among the many challenges, that are related to the development of complex systems of systems (SoS) are the  requirements, whose complexity increases with the increasing number of systems. In such projects, it is hard to clearly define all the requirements in the requirements analysis phase before the start of the development phase. The requirements are also prone to change during the development phase, since they are derived from complex environments, where the scenarios and assumptions are not only very diverse, unclear, but also varying.  

For example, the requirements in smart cities projects are derived from many resources and stakeholders, like the citizens, local regulations, political backgrounds, and many others. Therefore, the diversity of the relevant stakeholders adds to the complexity of the project and its development.  

How is CiLoCharging related to the problem? 

CiLoCharging was analyzed as a case study in the published paper. CiLoCharging in its core aims at the optimized integration of charging, logistics, energy and traffic management for the operation of electric vehicles in logistics depots in cities. The environment is thus described as complex and diverse; it consists of partner consortium of many big industry companies in different domains. This makes the systems engineering and the underlying requirements analysis challenging, since the process is influenced by the individual views and needs of each partner, especially when the goals are abstractly defined. In addition, the environment of the project is described to be changing and not stable. For example, having some aspects of the project’s environment not ready by the start of the requirements analysis phase, poses many uncertainties, unclear definitions and roles separations. 

What solutions are offered? 

As a solution, the paper proposes continuous adaptation to the changing requirements throughout the project’s life cycle and until the delivery of the final product. Ensuring in this way that the end product meets the requirements of the customer.  

The paper proposes a process for complex systems engineering projects in order to overcome the aforementioned challenges. The proposed approach focuses on the constant communication between the processes of system engineering and innovation management. This approach replaces the initial requirements analysis phase by a continuous delivery of requirements, which enables a continuous ideation process and offloads the initial requirements phase from being too specific and detailed from the start. 

The proposed solution is enabled by the implementation of the BizDevOps approach, in which the (Biz) stands for the project environment. It puts the focus on the definition and the update of business goals and not on the concrete user or system requirements. The use of the BizDevOps approach enables the continuous and iterative process of acquiring updated requirements. This continuous process is then enabled through the use of the Scenario in the Loop (SCIL) approach, which links the project environment (Biz) with requirements modeling and specification (Dev) in order to allow for fast and continuous feedback loops. 

For more details, check out the original published paper.

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