Value and benefits of model-based systems engineering (MBSE): Evidence from the literature

Kaitlin Henderson, Alejandro Salado

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Traditional document-based practices in systems engineering are being transitioned to model-based ones. Adoption of model-based systems engineering (MBSE) continues to grow in industry and government, and MBSE continues to be a major research theme in the systems engineering community. In fact, MBSE remains a central element in the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE)’s vision for 2025. Examining systems engineering literature, this paper presents an assessment of the extent to which benefits and value of MBSE are supported by empirical evidence. A systematic review of research and practice papers in major systems engineering archival journals and conference proceedings was conducted. Evidence was categorized in four types, two of which inductively emerged from the results: measured, observed (without a formal measurement process), perceived (claimed without evidence), and backed by other references. Results indicate that two thirds of claimed MBSE benefits are only supported by perceived evidence, while only two papers reported measured evidence. The aggregate assessment presented in this paper indicates that claims about the value and benefits of MBSE are mainly based on expectation. We argue that evidence supporting the value and benefits of MBSE remains inconclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalSystems Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • literature review
  • model-based systems engineering (MBSE)
  • value of systems engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Value and benefits of model-based systems engineering (MBSE): Evidence from the literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this