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EA User Group London 2017

This article provides some feedback on the EAUG London 2017 event, covering a full day of presentations, case studies, and user stories which took place on Friday, May 19th.

It illustrates the quality of information that has been delivered if you couldn't make it this year.

As shown on the agenda below, the day started with a keynote followed by 5 sessions, each time with a choice between 3 topics.

EA User Group London 2017 presentations agenda

Below is a feedback on some of the presentations I followed on that day.

Keynote: Innovation Needs Models

The keynote this year was run by Peter Lieber, from Sparx Systems Central Europe (Austria).
Peter shared his experience and recommendations when introducing a modelling approach within a project or company:

  • To start with, a modelling language (e.g. UML, SysML...) and a tool (EA) must be chosen. A method is paramount to structure the modelling approach and processes. The final item to consider is the existing and progressing experience.
    • It is important to highlight that a tool and language like EA + SysML are not sufficient as the methodology is mandatory to enable a modelling approach. Having no standards for the methodology, it needs to be defined according to the context.
    • The need for a modelling tool such as EA is required to achieve productivity.
  • Some useful feedback on failed and successful modelling scenarios were illustrated:
    • A successful modelling experience requires an iterative approach where reachable targets can be completed as the teams make progress.
    • An example of a failed case was given where a complex target was defined and once completed, a lack of acceptance and internal support led to a progressing drop in the related actions.
    • Another example involves the wrong idea that using everything e.g. all diagrams types from UML is the target. Resources and the team's involvement are often completely gone before getting any visible output.

Peter then focused on safety relevant systems e.g. trains, cars, aircrafts, medical MRI, etc. involving both complexity and safety. Safety is often subject to standards such as ISO 26262 for Road Vehicles Functional Safety. Looking at the challenges that need to be solved based on the ISO26262 standard, the modelling approach is considered to be the only sustainable option. This is supported by the fact that modelling makes it possible to maintain elements (e.g. requirements, components) and models (diagrams) that are all connected via traceability, coined as the model intelligence.

Where traceability is achieved with the tool, additional issues need to be addressed with the modelling methodology, e.g. a process to define in what order should one go about working on the model, what diagrams need to be used and for which purpose, where do elements and diagrams need to be stored, etc.

To enable adoption by Systems Engineers, the chosen language (SysML, UML) can be extended e.g. via a UML profile and its stereotypes. For instance the ISO 26262 ASIL levels (Automotive Safety Integrity Level) can be implemented in the system's model blocks through a range of colours.

Where diagrams are not always appropriate, details can be extracted and published through the means of Excel documents, e.g. via a Decision Matrix.

The final idea covered by Peter is to use Enterprise Architect as a platform that provides:

  • links with other tools such as DOORS to exchange requirements,
  • UML profiles and custom toolbars,
  • automated scripts,
  • running simulation and validation,
  • publish models via the Reusable Assets Service,
  • document generation.

Automated tests solution for add-ins and scripts in Enterprise Architect

My presentation was aimed at introducing an automated tests solution for EA automation scripts and add-ins, based on a personal project that I worked over the past months.

Since 2015, I maintain and share a free utilities add-in: eaUtils (www.eautils.com). It is aimed at saving time in specific scenarios involving sorting a wide array of elements within the model, or generating the alias value for elements according to their layout in a diagram.

The enhancements that I identified throughout the time, in addition to the feedback and requests received from users led to an increasing complexity level. Even if eaUtils is published as a free tool, a good level of testing and quality is required for the target users. Time consuming tests prompted the need for an automated tests solution with the following objectives:

  • Save time.
  • Define and run tests on my add-in in EA, moving away from manual tests.
  • Spend time improving tests rather than running them.

I came up with the following business class diagram to define the test structure:

eautils addin sparx enterprise architect automated tests structure

Moving to the design, I created an XML Schema model and generated the XSD file with EA to structure the XML test definition files. Having implemented a first working version of my automated tests in eaUtils, I could use it as illustrated below:

  • Run an addin feature with associated settings to generate the test data for a new step. This function prevented me from manually build the XML file which would have been time consuming.
  • Enable the automated tests module as the eaUtils developer, and run in on a test EA project.
  • Review the results via the generated sequence diagrams.
  • Fix any bug in case there's a failed test and repeat this process.

sparx enterprise architect addin automated tests process

The following illustrates the EA test project structure with packages that contain data sets, test step elements, and the automated tests execution process (load the tests description from the XML file, and for each step, load the settings, call the add-in method with the provided parameters, check the post conditions, and generate the results).

sparx enterprise architect addin automated tests run eautils

Generated sequence diagrams are aimed at reviewing results and keeping a history of run tests. Here is an example:

eautils addin sparx enterprise architect automated tests results

I ran eaUtils addin automated tests in Enterprise Architect via the first part of my demonstration, having only as a demo effect a spilled glass of water which did not reach my laptop. Thankfully no IT related demo issue.

The second part of my presentation covered the next step forward by making this solution available for other add-ins and even scripts. There are numerous EA automation scripts and add-ins out there. Most of them are specific to a project and therefore not shared with the community, whilst the remaining ones are released as open source, free, or commercial tools. Note that EA add-ins are listed by Sparx Systems on their third party extensions page.

In order to integrate this automated tests solution with other addins and scripts, I selected the following candidates:

  • hoTools add-in, an Open Source project maintained by Helmut Ortmann. An Open Source project was paramount so I could access and amend the C# code as part of this study (with the help and support of Helmut).
  • EA scripting library shared by Geert Bellekens.
  • A selection of scripts defined for a client: Lock Package and a Teiid virtual DB schema DDL import.

The tasks that followed were:

  • Extract a generic library from eaUtils automated tests into a new C# project: eaTests.
  • Update eaUtils add-in to use eaTests generic library.
  • Update hoTools add-in to use eaTests.
  • Define a new add-in to tests scripts.

eatests

As a result I successfully ran tests on one hoTools feature, a script from Geert, and 2 of my scripts. These were illustrated in the second part of the demonstration.

This study has led to a new solution called eaTests that has a dedicated site (www.eatests.com). The foreseen enhancements for eaTests library are mainly linked to the type of tests to carry on post conditions.

Replacing existing solutions with Enterprise Architect and extending function with custom MDGs

interserve eaug London presentation

Graham Williamson from Interserve, a major construction company with 85,000 staff worldwide, shared his experience on using Sparx EA to define Enterprise Architecture models, custom ArchiMate 3 stereotyped elements, and EA model validation.

The aim of an Enterprise Architecture was to move away from paper-based processes and achieve a digital construction. The audit of existing services, locations, customers, processes, applications, data, and technologies quickly led to the need of a modelling tool. Sparx Enterprise Architect successfully fulfilled this need, delivering the following:

  • Custom meta model
  • Flexible modelling
  • Archimate 3 support
  • UML profile and stereotypes support
  • Model search based on SQL queries
  • Document generation
  • Automation tools
  • Low license cost

Graham shared the meta model via the selected Archimate 3.0 relationships and elements, followed by examples of Archimate 3 stereotypes to handle additional properties. All Interserve stereotypes were made available via a custom toolbox.

EA 13 Model Validation feature was used to make sure that relationships between elements were valid according to a set of rules.

  • Validation rules i.e. a list of permitted relationships first need to be set up in EA. To save time in defining them in the required XML format, a custom add-in has been created to provide a handy user interface (e.g. Archimate associations allowed between an Application Collaboration and a Meaning element).
  • The model validation is then run in EA for a selected package, displaying any error found.

Graham then talked about customizing EA diagrams to provide a suitable view for stakeholders:

sparx enterprise architect archimate example eaug london

It was interesting to see a practical use of Archimate plateau elements as illustrated below (definition from the Open Group: "A plateau represents a relatively stable state of the architecture that exists during a limited period of time").

sparx enterprise architect archimate plateau example eaug london

As relationships couldn't be connected to an Archimate plateau element whereas this level of traceability was expected, the solution involved custom searches based on SQL queries with results grouped by Plateau. Search results enabled Interserve users to review each Plateau or architecture state content.

Other used EA features included:

  • The relationship matrix to maintain links between plateau elements and other model elements.
  • Roadmap diagram for the transformation planning.
  • Heatmap and charts.
  • Traceability and insert related elements in a diagram to build the business capability model.

Using Enterprise Architect and SysML for the development of an In-Wheel Motor System

protean in wheel motor systems sysml sparx enterprise architect

I was looking forward to this presentation as I'm currently involved in an MBSE (Model Based Systems Engineering) project in the automotive industry for ISO 26262 safety compliance.

John Gladstone works for Protean Electric Ltd, a UK based company that develops in-wheel electric motor systems for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric light-duty vehicles. John's presentation provided an interesting feedback on the challenges that have been addressed with SysML and Enterprise Architect models.

Project context

John opened a SysML BDD diagram to illustrate the project context.

  • The development of In-Wheel Motor systems falls under the scope of the ISO-26262 (Road vehicles – Functional safety), which requires the identification of Safety Goals
  • The In-Wheel Motor system must include safety mechanisms which integrity is fulfilled by Design and Safety Architecture models. Such mechanisms are intended to prevent hazardous events such as an unintended acceleration of the vehicle.

System behaviour

The system behaviour was modelled with use cases and sequence diagrams for the scenario details. In order to model the system behaviour when things go wrong, Protean team has invented an actor called the Gremlin.

As a result SysML sequence diagrams had the driver and gremlin lifelines as the actors, and the electric vehicle lifeline in the middle with all interactions.

Modelling needs

Another BDD diagram was used to illustrate a complete view of the modelling needs for a motor system:

  • An architecture framework to comply with architectural integrity via consistency, completeness, and correctness as per the ISO-26262 standard needs.
  • The system is described by the architecture and modelled by SysML practitioners who use SysML modelling language, a semi-formal notation highly recommended by the ISO-26262. 

Understand SysML

John shared his recommendations on the literature to read about SysML, including:

  • SysML Distilled: A Brief Guide to the Systems Modeling Language from L.Delligatti
  • SysML for Systems Engineering from Jon Holt and Simon Perry (Simon attended this EAUG)
  • A practical guide to SysML from S.Friedenthal and A.Moore

Architecture Framework model

The structure of the framework model was described as follows:

  • It defines a number of viewpoints (perspectives).
  • It is implemented using an MDG Technology that contains SysML stereotypes, toolboxes, and custom model searches.
  • It is defined in the model repository alongside a Design Model.

Process and methodology model

Guidelines and diagrams describing the process to follow according to the methodology have been defined for each viewpoint.

Example model

To help understanding and improving this modelling environment with frameworks, processes and a methodology, an example model has been defined. This worthwhile exercise is based on an example system:

  • Sufficiently defined to understand a practical results from the existing frameworks and processes.
  • Not in scope of a motor system so nobody can argue about the details.
  • Introducing fun: Protean chose the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek series as the system. This led to system elements such as an antimatter reactant injector and storage pod, a warp nacelle, etc.  

Final topics

Remaining covered topics included:

  • The need of a glossary of terms to enforce using the right vocabulary the system or ISO standard.
  • Generate documents from the models to minimize overheads.
  • Structure the models with a library of elements (e.g. blocks, use cases, requirements...) and views/perspectives.

Sparx EA community of users

Throughout this 2 day event, I had the opportunity to meet great people. It was very interesting to share ongoing work and questions around EA, whether the context applied to software projects involving analysis and design, systems engineering with SysML and MBSE, or enterprise architecture with UML or ArchiMate. It was very nice catching up or meeting users that I know via Sparx forum or other online means throughout the year, giving an opportunity for a face to face discussion.

EAUG events are aimed at making the large community of EA users meeting up, gain valuable knowledge, and create new opportunities.

I'm looking forward to next year's EA User Group.

Published in News

 

Sparx Systems has once again made it to the 2017 SD Times 100 list in the ALM & Development Tools Category.  SD times indicated that "Application life-cycle management needs sound methods coupled with up-to-date tools and platforms for requirements so that teams know what to do and when to do it by. These companies helped developers stick to the plan and avoid falling behind in 2017."  Enterprise Architect provides a solid platform for the delivery and support of new applications, services, and technologies, by encouraging and facilitation of increased productivity between development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). Sparx Systems is pleased to be on the 2017 SD Times 100.

Read the full article to read more about the 2017 SD Times 100 list.

2017 is an exciting year with the introduction of the all new Pro Cloud Server, allowing a real-time view of content contained in an Enterprise Architect Cloud repository to be shared with anyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer simply using a web-browser.

 

To learn more about the Pro Cloud server, we would encourage you to read about the product on the Sparx Systems website below:

http://www.sparxsystems.com/products/procloudserver/

 

 

Published in News

sdtimes 100In an in-depth and illuminating interview with Sparx Systems Founder and CEO Geoffrey Sparks, Alexandra Weber Morales from SD Times identified several key aspects surrounding the company's continued growth in the DevOps space.

 

Geoffrey illustrated how Enterprise Architect provides a solid platform for the delivery and support of new applications, services, and technologies, by encouraging and facilitation of increased productivity between development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). The Sparx CEO also explained the importance of UML as the established standard for software modeling.

 

"Within those organizations that are undergoing digital transformation
to improve operational efficiencies (many of whom are Sparx Systems
customers), there is a prevalence of UML tools deployed to manage application
delivery, a process which relies implicitly on code quality assurance."

- Geoffrey Sparks, CEO & Founder, Sparx Systems

 

Read the full article in PDF - available on the Sparx Systems website here

Visit SD Times website here

Read More about Sparx Systems and DevOps here

 

 

 

 

Published in News

 

Preparing my presentation at the upcoming EA User Group in London (19/05/2017), I uploaded a video about this subject on Youtube.

It provides a first glimpse on the automated test module for Sparx Enterprise Architect addins that I will discuss in detail at the EA User Group London 2017.

Click on the following url to open the Youtube video: Automated tests with eaUtils addin for Sparx Enterprise Architect video.

 

There is still time to register at the EA User Group London 2017 from www.eausergroup.com.

Please feel free to contact me on guillaume[at]umlchannel.com if you have any question or comment.

Published in News

CIOReviewPBMedIn the February edition of CIO Review, Sparx Systems has been recognized by a distinguished panel of CEO's, CIO's, CMO's, VC's, analysts and the CIO Review editorial board, from a select group of over 300 companies as one of the "most promising BPM technology solution providers".

 

First awarded the honor in 2015, this is a continuing recognition of Sparx Systems' ability to provide technology solutions to streamline operations in a faster, less resource-intensive manner, while keeping costs under control. 

 

For more information regarding CIO Review's 20 Most Promising BPM Solution Providers - 2017, please view the PDF here.

 

An interview with Founder and CEO Geoffrey Sparks is also featured in this month's edition titled 'Architecting' Agile Enterprises, where Geoffrey discusses Enterprise Architect's unique market position as the go-to platform for enterprise-wide digital transformation. 

 

Read the in-depth article between CIO Review and Geoffrey Sparks here: Sparx Systems - Architecting Agile Enterprises (PDF)

 

The February edition of CIO Review can be read at the CIOReview website: http://magazine.cioreview.com/magazines/February2017/BPM

Published in News

Sparx Systems, together with the International Institute of Business Analysis™ (IIBA®), has announced the public Beta release of a reference model for IIBA's Business Analysis Body of Knowledge® (BABOK® Guide v3), supported by Sparx System's Pro Cloud Server and an MDG Technology within Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect.

ultimate ba toolkitConsidered as the Ultimate Toolkit for Business Analysts, Sparx System's Tools & Techniques for BABOK Guide v3 has been developed in close conjunction with key stakeholders within the IIBA community, supporting the global business analysis community with improved efficiency and practical real-world modeling examples.

Easily accessible from within the browser of any Internet connected mobile device, the Tools & Techniques for BABOK Guide v3 represents BABOK Guide v3 Knowledge Areas as columns, while each cell represents a specific Task within the Knowledge Area. Enterprise Architect sample models are also contained within the online solution, offering Business Analysts with a comprehensive array of modeling resources to assist in attaining a high level of proficiency in the shortest possible time-frame.

tools and techniques montageFurther information regarding the Enterprise Architect Tools and Techniques for BABOK ® Guide v3, delivered via the Pro Cloud Server collaboration platform or MDG Technology plug-in, plus a wealth of reference materials, is available at the Sparx Systems website: www.sparxsystems.com/babok

 

 

 

 

 

Published in News

Sparx Systems has responded to an increased demand of sales, training and consultancy services to support North American users of Enterprise Architect.

 

With more than 600,000 effective users globally including over 80% of Fortune 100 firms, Sparx Systems has seen heightened demand and increased adoption of Enterprise Architect by major corporations in the North American region over the last several years.

Sparx Services North America offers access to quality support for new and existing customers providing sales, training and consulting services from a single regional point of contact.

 

"Sparx Services North America's proven expertise and close working relationship with Sparx provides organizations and individuals with a rich set of support, training and consulting offerings to ensure maximum return on their investment in modeling and design work using the Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect tool suite." - Geoffrey Sparks, Founder & CEO, Sparx Systems

 

Located just outside of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, Sparx Services North America provides optimal provision of quality support to customers via phone toll-free on 1-800-882-6051, and via the website at www.sparxsystems.us

Read the Media Release: Sparx Opens New Office to Service North America  

 

 

 

Published in News

Enterprise Architect User Group

London 2017; 18th - 19th May

EA User Group - London 2017The London

2017 meeting of the Enterprise Architect User Group sees a shakeup to the agenda in the form of an additional day being added to the roster. In additional to the traditional presentation day of User Stories, How to's etc the extra day added to the event is taking the form of a training day.

The training day adds to the event a selection of six, three hour training sessions on a variety of subjects from BPMN to TOGAF and Model Curation.


Location

Code Node, 10 South Place, London, EC2M 7BT

Get Directions

EA User Group - London 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Agenda; Thursday 18th May

EA User Group - London 2017

You can find information on these training sessions over at the EA User Group website.


Agenda; Friday 19th May

EA User Group - London 2017

You can find a synopsis for each of these presentations over on the EA User Group website.


How to buy your tickets...

Tickets for the event are available directly from the EA User Group website and are priced as follows:

  • Full two day event ticket; £550.00 +Vat
  • Friday only ticket; £75.00 +Vat

EA User Group - London 2017

Published in News
Friday, 10 March 2017 01:16

We are Profiling EA Users

Do you know of any EA user deserving of notice? 

 

We are profiling high-achieving EA users to promote the great work being done in our industry. We want to interview these people to find out what their background is, how their role has changed, and the unique challenges they are applying EA to. 

 

Published on the community site, the profiles aim to promote the achievements of individuals and teams and raise a greater sense of community. 

 

A prior example can be read here: http://community.sparxsystems.com/news/979-user-group-attendee-profile-rasheed-amzart

 

Attached is a copy of our interview questions. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to nominate or send a completed interview. All interviews are conducted in writing and participants are offered editing rights over the final profile.

 

We hope to hear from you.

 

Best Regards,

The Sparx Systems Community Site

 

Published in News

We recently published Panorama 360 Insurance and Wealth Management Enterprise Business Architecture Framework as a book (456 pages) which is globally available on Amazon. It covers all functional  (Capabilities) and informational aspects of the industry. This enterprise business model is also available on Sparx Enterprise Architect.

Here is a link to an article that was published by Insurance Innovation Reporter's Anthony R. O'Donnell relative to the value of Panorama 360.

http://iireporter.com/panorama-360-insurance-enterprise-business-model-qa-with-author-pierre-gagne/

For any questions on the Panorama 360 Enterprise Business Model and the Sparx Enterprise Architect version, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in News
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