Multi-DisciplinaryImproving Multi-Disciplinary Project Performance with MBSE (Survey Results)


Multi-DisciplinaryHow do Top Performing companies get better results with their multi-disciplinary development projects? 

Projects involving multiple engineering disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, and software can be incredibly complex. How much time do team members waste searching for information, investigating and fixing errors, dealing with integration issues, working around poor architecture design choices, and redoing work due to miscommunications? How much better could products be if more of that time went to innovation and improving designs? How do Top Performing companies deal with this?

How to Improve Multi-Disciplinary Project Performance with Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE), a research study based on a survey of 193 companies, examines the practices of those involved with multi-disciplinary development projects. The study looks at what Top Performing companies do to achieve better results than their peers and identifies how any company can improve efficiency, lower cost, and increase quality.

Please enjoy the summary* below. For the full research, please visit our sponsor IBM (registration required).

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Importance of Systems Engineering Best Practices
  • Business Impact of System Challenges
  • Identifying Top Performers
  • Top Performers’ Strategies
  • Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)
  • What to Look for in an MBSE Solution
  • How Top Performers Use MBSE
  • Preparing Staff to Support MBSE
  • Drivers to Adopt MBSE
  • MBSE Results
  • Recommendations
  • About the Research
  • Acknowledgments

Executive Summary

Today’s Modern Products

Many of today’s products have evolved into complex systems of mechanical components, electronics, and software. Consequently, systems engineering best practices have become essential as demand for integrated systems has continued to increase. These practices have become instrumental to product development in many industries, especially aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial machinery, medical devices, consumer electronics, and others.

The Cost of Suboptimal Processes

While companies continue to release products, most struggle with increasing complexity, more requirements, late discovery of problems, and poor collaboration. Unfortunately, these challenges add significant cost and hurt profitability. While these costs may not be easy to quantify, do not underestimate their impact as product complexity grows. Those who do not look for better ways to manage these challenges risk falling behind their competition and suffering significant profitability hits.

This research explores the plans Top Performers have for the next 12 months, revealing insights companies can use to improve their development processes. Top Performers plan to embrace digitalization further, invest in solutions that better integrate engineering disciplines, adopt systems engineering best practices, and transition from a document-based approach to a model-based one. A finding that stood out is that Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is becoming a crucial enabler.


An overwhelming 97% of Top Performing companies have adopted MBSE or plan to adopt it. Companies that have already adopted MBSE report benefits such as a single source of truth, improved traceability, and a common visual reference. As a result, their teams are more productive and produce higher-quality products. While 99% of all companies that have deployed MBSE report benefits, Top Performers experience even more value due to how they adopt and use the solution. Further, many companies that have adopted MBSE report even more benefits than anticipated by their own estimations.

This Research Report

This research report reveals:

  • Why you should consider adopting MBSE
  • How to get even more value from MBSE
  • Benefits you can expect to realize with MBSE

Multi-DisciplinaryBusiness Impact of System Challenges

Business Impacts

While products still get released, ignoring the top challenges of system design comes at a high cost. The graph reveals the top business impacts of the challenges associated with designing multi-disciplinary systems.

Higher Cost

Multi-DisciplinaryWithout suitable methods for managing system complexity, mistakes are hard to avoid. It’s also harder to catch errors early and identify all the impacts, especially considering interdependencies across components and subsystems. Finding problems late can result in rework, hours or even days of wasted effort, and scrap, increasing costs. Plus, late discovered problems take longer to correct, which means longer development times and delays, further increasing development costs. Then when you consider the impact across all system variants, costs grow exponentially.

The lack of good ways to plan and visualize complex systems can compromise optimal decisions around system architecture. This can lead to higher product costs and more brittle systems that make changes even more expensive and time-consuming.

Less Innovation and Revenue

Innovation sets your products apart, excites customers, and drives revenue opportunities. If your development teams cannot deliver on innovation, your company will miss out on future revenue streams and lose market share to more innovative competitors.

Innovation requires dedicated effort. However, engineers report they waste over half their time on system integration, which consumes their bandwidth to innovate.


Recommendations and Next Steps

Developing multi-disciplinary systems is inherently complex. Suboptimal processes can result in higher costs, less innovation, lost revenue, and poor quality. However, companies can enjoy a competitive advantage by improving profitability with the right practices and technology. MBSE can be particularly useful.

Based on industry experience and research for this report, Tech-Clarity offers the following recommendations to improve the development of multi-disciplinary systems:

  • Transition from a document-centric approach to a model-based one to enjoy the benefits of digitalization and greater automation of development processes.
  • Invest in solutions that will integrate content across engineering disciplines to support better collaboration across the development team, throughout the lifecycle.
  • Think about software development early in the lifecycle. Developing optimized complex products may require rethinking traditional hardware approaches, starting with a system-level approach that considers software from the start.
  • Consider adopting MBSE as part of recommended systems engineering best practices.
  • Leverage MBSE throughout the entire development lifecycle, not just as an upfront tool for initial definitions, but also use it for simulating and prototyping to verify and validate the system.
  • Think through how to best support your staff to overcome cultural resistance so that they are more open to MBSE adoption.

*This summary is an abbreviated version of the research and does not contain the full content. For the full research, please visit our sponsor IBM (registration required).

If you have difficulty obtaining a copy of the report, please contact us.