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What is MBASE ?

Model-Based (System) Architecting and Software Engineering is a set of guidelines that describe software engineering techniques for the creation and integration of development models for a software project. The models to be integrated extend beyond Product (development) models such as object oriented analysis and design models and traditional requirements models, to include Process models such as lifecycle and risk models, Property models such as cost and schedule, and most notably success models such as business-case analysis and stakeholder win-win.

MBASE is highly compatible with Rational's Unified Software Development Process, which has adopted the MBASE anchor point milestones. MBASE has adopted Rational's Inception/Elaboration/Construction/Transition phase definitions for activities between the milestones.

MBASE is trying to extend Rational-USDP's architecture-centric, use-case driven process toward a process which is both architecture-and-stakeholder-centric, and both use-case and business-case driven.

How well does MBASE work and where is it currently applied ?

Research on software engineering methods such as MBASE is particularly difficult because it usually takes several years to complete and evaluate even one software project using the new methods. We have been able to acclerate this feedback cycle running many real client projects each year, and improving the methods anually based on analysis of project experience.

MBASE is adopted in industry by companies like XEROX, TRW, Litton, FAA, and the Air Force CISR Center. It is also applied to CSCI 577 class projects along with other CSE projects like HDCP, QMIS, LAPK, Personal and Effort Database, etc.

Click here to obtain the latest guidelines (We update the guidelines periodically however; you can also email Winsor Brown at to check for newer versions.)

The Center is currently conducting research on a lite version of MBASE and should be available shortly.
The Center is also in the process of creating a comparative matrix between other industry standards of software development such as IEEE J-16, and MIL-SDD 498 and MBASE Guidelines.

The best recent papers describing MBASE are:

  1. Boehm B. and Hansen W., "The Spiral Model as a Tool for Evolutionary Acquisition", CrossTalk, May 2001.
  2. Boehm B. and Port D., "Balancing Discipline and Flexiiblity with the Spiral Model and MBASE", CrossTalk, December 2001.
  3. Boehm B., Port D., Huang L. and Brown W., "Using the Spiral Model and MBASE to Generate New Acquisition Process Models: SAIV/CAIV, and SCQAIV", CrossTalk, January 2002.
  4. Boehm B., Brown W., Basili V. and Turner R., "Spiral Acquisition of Software-Intensive Systems of Systems", CrossTalk, May 2004 (to appear).
  5. Boehm B. and Port D., "Escaping the Software Tar Pit: Model Clashes and How to Avoid Them," Software Engineering Notes, Association for Computing Machinery, pp. 36-48, January 1999 (PS, PDF)

  6. Boehm B. and Port D., "When Models Collide: Lessons From Software System Analysis," January 1999. (PDF)

  7. Boehm B., Egyed A., Kwan J., Port D., Shah A., and Madachy R., "Using the WinWin Spiral Model: A Case Study," July 1999. (PDF)
There are several tools being developed at the Center for negotiating stakeholder Win Win solutions. To include a few ..
  • Easy Win-Win distributed groupware system for negotiating stakeholder Win Win solutions.

  • COCOMO II suite of models for cost and schedule estimation.

  • Quality Management Information Systems for recording defects and supporting defect density analysis.

  • Personal and Effort Database.

  • Model Clash Analyser helps in identifying clashes among stakeholders assumptions.

  • Distributed Assessment of Risk Tool helps in identifying top risks in a project.