What is Parametric Design in Requirements Engineering?

Parametric Requirements Engineering is a way of designing products by defining relationships between different objects, rather than individual components themselves. 

Instead of hard coding each requirement into the design, parameters are used to describe the specifications. These parameters can be adjusted as needed, leading to automatic updates throughout the design. 

This approach allows for more flexibility in the design process and makes it easier to make changes. As a result, rework is reduced, and the design process is more efficient.

Parametric design enables engineers to make changes to one aspect of the design and have it automatically updated throughout the entire design, leading to a more consistent and accurate design, as well as a more streamlined design process. 

An example of a use case for parametric design is the design of an electric car battery. The engineering team can parametrize their requirements by setting specifications such as battery capacity, voltage, and other characteristics as parameters, rather than fixed values in text. 

The parameters are then linked to the design, so that any changes made to the design are automatically checked against the requirements. 

For example, if the team needs to increase the battery’s capacity, they can change the relevant parameter in the design and immediately see if the requirements are still being met. 

Parametric requirements engineering helps to minimize the risk of rework and allows the team to make changes more quickly and easily, while maintaining a flexible and efficient design process.

Benefits of Parametric Design in Requirements Engineering

Parametric requirements engineering provides numerous benefits to engineers that build complex products. 

These benefits include:

  1. Improved product quality and reliability: Parametric requirements engineering helps ensure that the finished product satisfies customer and regulatory requirements and functions within defined tolerances and performance envelopes, leading to increased product quality and dependability. This ultimately results in a more dependable and high-quality end product.
  2. Increased design efficiency and reduced development time: Improved design efficiency and shorter development times may be achieved with parametric requirements engineering’s help thanks to the method’s capacity to more precisely define the design’s prerequisites. Reason being, engineers know exactly what must be done, therefore they can make good choices and cut down on unnecessary revisions.
  3. Better collaboration between stakeholders and reduced misunderstandings: Parametric requirements engineering helps enhance cooperation between stakeholders including engineers, consumers, and regulators by describing the needs in terms of explicit, quantifiable values and ranges. This leads to fewer misunderstandings and better results.
  4. Increased ability to monitor and validate design performance: Engineers may guarantee that the design performance is good enough by keeping a close eye on and evaluating the parameters throughout the product development cycle. This may aid in the early detection and correction of problems, hence decreasing the likelihood of requiring more expensive and time-consuming fixes down the line.
  5. Enhanced traceability and ability to track changes to requirements: Increased traceability and the capacity to monitor changes to requirements are realized when engineers keep a detailed but succinct record of the parametric requirements. This ensures that all parties involved are on the same page about the requirementss and any subsequent modifications.

How Parametric Modeling in Requirements Engineering Works

Parametric requirements engineering typically involves three key steps:

  1. Defining and documenting parametric requirements: Determining and documenting parametric requirements entails specifying the required values and tolerances for each component of the hardware system. In order to record this data, a requirements specification document has been created.
  2. Using parametric requirements in the design process: Parametric requirements are used as inputs in the design process to direct the choice of components, their design, and the creation of test plans and acceptance criteria.
  3. Monitoring and validating parametric requirements throughout the product lifecycle: Parametric requirements are regularly checked and verified throughout the product development cycle to guarantee that the final product satisfies all criteria. This allows problems to be identified and fixed before they become too extensive and time-consuming to fix.

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Common Challenges in Parametric Design in Requirements Engineering

While parametric requirements engineering provides numerous benefits, it also presents several common challenges, including:

  1. Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of requirements: The effectiveness of parametric requirements engineering relies heavily on the accuracy and completeness of the requirements. In complicated systems where requirements are prone to change, this may be extremely difficult.
  2. Keeping requirements up-to-date and aligned with design changes: It is crucial to keep requirements up-to-date and in sync with design modifications as the design progresses. This may be difficult since modifying one part of the system might have repercussions on the needs of other parts.
    Luckily, the engineering tool Valispace links requirements to the system design, meaning any change in requirements on one part of the model will be automatically updated to show any impact it has on the system as a whole.
  3. Ensuring consistent interpretation and implementation of requirements.

The Best Engineering Software Tools for Parametric Design

Requirements management software:

 This software provides a centralized repository for storing and managing requirements, including parametric requirements. This helps ensure that all stakeholders have access to the most up-to-date information and enables tracking of changes over time. Examples of requirements management software include Valispace, IBM Rational DOORS, and HPE PPM.

Model-based systems engineering (MBSE) tools:

MBSE tools are used to model and simulate complex hardware systems, and can be used to validate and verify parametric requirements. Examples of MBSE tools include Valispace, Modelica, and MagicDraw.

Computer-aided design (CAD) software:

CAD software is used to design and model hardware components, and can be used to validate and verify parametric requirements. Examples of CAD software include AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and PTC Creo.

Simulation and analysis software:

This software is used to simulate and analyze the performance of hardware systems and can be used to validate and verify parametric requirements. Examples of simulation and analysis software include ANSYS, MATLAB, and Simulink. Valispace also has some simulation and analysis capabilities. 

Configuration management software:

Configuration management software is used to manage and track changes to the hardware design and its associated documentation, including parametric requirements. Examples of configuration management software include Git, SVN, and Perforce.

It’s important to note that the specific software tools used for parametric requirements engineering will depend on the needs of the project and the specific requirements of the hardware product being developed.

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