Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
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Special Report

An Examination of a Structural Modeling Risk Probe Technique

  • Abstract

    The integration of demand dynamics into a structural model is a key conceptual shift for software engineering. This report examines the utility and transition characteristics of a structural dynamic analysis modeling technique called Projective ANalysis (PAN) that was used on an interoperability technical probe of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) modernization program. The report focuses on the process, rather than the findings, of the probe. Organizational entities are referred to generically and, in some instances, aggregated. 

    The probe involved workshops and interviews, conducted over a two-week period with more than 25 people, followed by analysis of the data gathered. PAN was used to model the NATO program as a system of systems. The model is a rapid assessment based on the subjective understanding of the interviewed subject matter experts. It is a snapshot in time; while dynamic stocks and feedback loops are represented, their temporal characteristics are not. From the model, five perspectives were analyzed for different forms of interoperability risk. These analyses produced three-dimensional projections that depict clusters of shared interfaces. The separation between these clusters identifies the interoperability risks. 

    The report notes that the PAN technique starts from a client-driven context and builds visual representations that are easily understood by, and bring immediate value to, the client. Further, the report observes that the modeler is critical to this technique and must possess expert skills in the Microsoft Visio application as well as an ability to quickly grasp and characterize the constructs and objects revealed through dialog-based inquiry.

    The report concludes that PAN appears to offer a fresh approach, new insights, and appropriate mechanisms to study complexity in systems of systems. The potential for applying and amplifying this technique appears to be significant. The report also determines that an experienced process modeler would have little difficulty adapting to this modeling paradigm.

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