In most cases, trade studies which may also be known as a trade-off studies, are the behaviors and activities to identify the most balanced technical solutions among a set of proposed viable solutions. These feasible and practical solutions are determined by a series of measures. For example, the measures would consist of weighted criteria and constraints such as cost/expense functions, risk, time, schedules, performance, reliability, quality, precision, technical significance, architectural feasibility, strategic alignment, voice of the stakeholder and other measurable key performance indicators applicable to the trade-study. These measures describe the desirable characteristics of a solution which are both quantitative and qualitative. In addition, the qualitative and objective (or subjective voice of the stakeholder) can be quantified using standard prioritization methodologies such as the Analytic Hierarchy Process.
The criteria being used in the trade studies may be conflicting mutually exclusive. Trade studies are commonly used in the design of aerospace and automotive vehicles and the software selection process to help optimize and manage the configuration that best meets conflicting performance requirements and other criterion. In this article, we will look at how leveraging Rational Focal Point optimizes the ability to manage trade studies for the Joint Tactical Radio System as an example. In addition, manage the trade study, portfolios, capabilities and the System Engineering Management Plan within Rational Focal point also closes the gaps and chasms throughout the trade study decision support system engineering process lifecycle. Rational Focal Points integrates with requirements execution (Rational DOORS), project execution and work breakdown structure (Rational Team Concert), smarter actionable enterprise architecture with DoDAF and Federal Enterprise Architecture (Rational System Architect) and share data regarding the trade studies for systems modeling and simulation (Rational Rhapsody).
• Support shared data and concurrent users
• Collaborate across physical locations
• Role based access to information
• Configurable Schema
• Analytical Visualizations
One of Rational Focal Point’s greatest strengths is to help determine whether the features or capabilities chosen for a particular program, product, project or release are those that offer the greatest value to all concerned. This value assessment is the purview of Capability & Product Portfolio Management, depending on the particular agency organization, and not of the technical engineers engaged to implement a solution, whether it be a capability, program, project or a product. In virtually all projects, requirements, features, capability or agency needs are added, removed or amended during the natural lifecycle of the process and just as the impact of these changes is assessed on the rest of the program or project technically, the affect of these changes on the value of the project or product should also be assessed. Nobody wants to remove some features from a product under development only to find at the end of the project that the resulting product is of little worth. Repeated value assessments using Focal Point can avoid this problem. Thus, Rational DOORS is an engineering tool for the execution management of requirements and the impact of change on a technical level and Rational Focal Point is a portfolio management and decision support tool for the management of capabilities, features and the impact of change on value at a multiple agencies' levels such as capability management. The following figure is how capabilities and requirements flow from Rational Focal Point to Rational DOORS / Rational Rhapsody – the hourglass model. (Please click the image to enlarge)
• Our Federal, Military and Aerospace agencies have to optimize design decisions.
• System engineers need a better means to implement and document a trade study on design alternatives at every level of the architecture.
• System engineers need a better means to perform trade studies on the selection of components and subcomponents from competing vendors.
• System engineers and program managers need a better means of allocating requirements to staggered releases.
The following figure is an example screenshot from Rational Focal Point to create and manage Criteria to reflect normalized Trade Study attributes or Joint Tactical Radio System . (Please click the image to enlarge)
The following figure is an example screenshot from Rational Focal
Point prioritization to set relative criteria weighting for Joint Tactical
Radio System. (Please click the image to enlarge)
The following figure is an example screenshot from Rational Focal Point Visualize Relative Criteria Weights RTOS Selection for Joint Tactical Radio System. (Please click the image to enlarge)
The following figure is an example screenshot from Rational Focal Point Visualize RTOS Selection Trade Study Analysis for Joint Tactical Radio System. (Please click the image to enlarge)