Beaver Computer Consultants Limited - Consultants in systems engineering for business, mission and safety critical systems

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Beaver Computer Consultants have a comprehensive servicing offering to support the systems engineering process. For a summary of each capability area please select from:

  • Project Management Processes
  • Configuration Management & Change Management
  • Business Case, ITT and Tendering
  • Process definition, audit and staff development
  • Requirements Capture, Analysis, and Management and Testing / IVVT
  • Business Modelling, Benchmarking, Structured and Object Analysis, System Timing & Capacity Analysis
  • System design & analysis
  • Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Cost Reliability and maintainability predictions and Life Cycle Costing (LCC)
  • Safety, Ergonomics, Security, Business Continuity and QRA Studies
  • Safety Case Support
  • Software applications and programming capability
  • Legislation and Standards
  • Peer Review and Document Inspection
  • Six Sigma

  • Project Management Processes

    Applying PRINCE based methods, developing the PID and benefits statement, and preparing SOW’s, VWD’s, cost control, bid development. We develop or capture product plans and work estimates and derive GANNT, PERT, resource and cost charts related to the development process, requirements, and solution, all based round the process product flow. Risk assessment, control, and management. Monitor budget and resource usage against plan. Highlight, mid-point, and end stage product reviews. Setting up project offices including process definitions and document formats for the quality, configuraqtion management and change control, and filing functions. Our project planning and management has an approach, work streams, and iterations philosophy consistent with RUP®, RtP®, DSDM®, MSF®, RAD, and JAD.

    Configuration Management & Change Management

    Develop and apply configuration management activities, complaint with DEF STAN 05-57 & CCTA ITIL. Define and operate change control protocols and impact analysis of proposed changes, linking into requirements management. Identify CI’s and relationships to other CI’s for a given baseline. Change management and operational readiness support including expectation management, preparing and managing strategy’s to ensure operational readiness is matched to testing and operational cut-over to the technical solution. We have experience in implementing configuration and change management processes using tools such as DOORS and CM Pro, including integation into the overall project process.

    Business Case, ITT and Tendering

    For Clients : Development of project and business proposals, preliminary solution cases, business cases, study and progress reports. Develop and validate the ITT or User Specification, and assist in running pre-qualification of potential suppliers, helping to understand whether the benefits assessment is valid. Once the ITT is released we provide tender assessment and sub-contractor management. Structured review of supporting documents e.g. due diligence.

    For Suppliers : Analysing ITT's, building requirement and cost managed proposals, and providing general bid support including competitor analysis, story boarding, and red team reviews. Our requirements management capability is used to ensure the clients requirements are understood, that the proposal addresses all of the clients needs, and is appropriately linked to the risk register and cost build ups.

    Process definition, audit and staff development

    Definition of process, methods, and techniques for system and software life cycles, standards management, and SEI CMMI and OCG PMMM benchmarking. Staff development, mentoring, and training including developing and delivering learning materials, work shops and lecturers, on-site support, assessing and mapping competency’s to task planning and defined processes.

    We have experience in the development of software applications to support processes, integrating COTS products, to bring together development and project management tools, in to a workflow environment, together with on-line or intranet process and methods manuals and training materials. A feature of our approach is the provision of digital dashboards to show progress, process adherence, and efficacy, and the tight relationship between process definition and implementation.

    Requirements Capture, Analysis, and Management and Testing / IVVT

    Our main requirements service is preparing business, user, system, interface and service level requirements specifications, or undertaking V&V or compliance assessments against requirements. We also specialise in requirements database management and configuring requirements tools such as DOORS® and Requisite Pro®, to support specification development or ITT, tender assessment, and acceptance . Our full range of requirements services include;


    • Defining processes and implementation with attributes, views and scripts as part of an information model for DOORS and Requisite Pro, establishing the various types of links between specifications and documents represented as modules, and establishing the linking strategy and implementing link modules. The information model establishes the relationships and hierarchies between use cases, displays and reports, performance requirements, test specifications, and results, the information associated with the requirements, the views and reports which are produced, while maintaining integrity of the life cycle.


    • Reviewing existing information models to identify problem structures and assess how well a process is implemented by a tool and how accurate the results are likely to be (integrity).


    • Developing import / export routines for the tools, producing tables to be provided to suppliers for negotiation or compliance, and periodically importing and reviewing the completed tables.


    • Specifying, developing or testing tools to automate parts of a process using DOORS® DXL.


    • Preparing reports detailing progress through the process, the level of process compliance, and quality of specifications against defined criteria, generated from the requirements database.


    • Prepare requirements or design review information packages at key lifecycle milestones, at both a technical and process compliance level, using information contained in the requirements database.


    • Importing existing specifications, memos and documents into DOORS or Requisite Pro from Word, Excel or other formats, or OCR / scanning of paper copies. We advise on alternative approaches to handling tables and graphics and what that means to the V&V strategy implemented in the requirements tool. We then apply quality tests to any existing or derived requirement wording, and producing action reports, where requirements are suspect.


    • Suggesting and agreeing templates specifications at business, user, system and testing levels, populating the specifications, and apply quality tests to them, before publishing. We populate specifications using a variety of methods e.g. use cases, scenario reviews, existing system and problem studies, performance analysis.


    • Building traceability matrix and arguments between specifications, tests, and test result evidence to ensure each requirement is fulfilled and each element of a solution or proposal is traceable to a requirement.


    • Conducting informal and structured interviews, planning and delivering work shops or scenario sessions, and prototyping reviews, to capture or validate information or move towards consensus and buy-in, and gaining Stakeholder acceptance.


    • Undertake searches on new methods or applications, technologies, conducting product enquiry’s, and preparing appraisal’s.


    • Preparing specifications for, and undertaking, prototype and User acceptance tests based on Use Case / scenarios, load tests etc.

    Our requirements capability, particularly in populating or verifying or validating specifications is enhanced by our experience in requirements elicitation and simulation methods, including business and systems analysis, along with timing, performance, RAM, and through life costing studies.

    Business Modelling, Benchmarking, Structured and Object Analysis, System Timing & Capacity Analysis

    Our business analysis level services focus on modelling and architecturing of the “as is” and “future” positions, migration and development strategy’s, and identifying process, system, and organisational improvement opportunities and the means of realisation, based on Zachman® and Boar frame works, and producing VISION statements and Blueprints such as those called up by Rational's RUP®, Microsofts Solution Framework®, and the CCTA's PRINCE® and the programme management guidance.

    Our services include market analysis, examining the market needs, and analysis of the competition. The way in which the market is influenced is also determined. The organisation and market is analysed with Strength - Weakness - Opportunity - Threat (SWOT), Mission - Objective - Strategy - Tactics (MOST), and and Goal-Barrier analysis. Then the way in which the business interacts with the market and delivers services is examined. Our business process analysis services includes benchmarking and the application of balanced score card, complemented with studies of the existing processes and systems, to determine the relationship between the market needs, objectives, and current processes and the way in which the organisation, infrastructure, and applications are used to service the market needs. Gap analysis focuses on understanding the difference between current delivery capability and what is needed in terms of functionality, timing, and costs. The focus is on "whats" needed.

    We can prepare process and swim lanes diagrams, IDEF modelling and analysis, ABC and value chain analysis, business rules, establishing KPI’s & CSF’s, work flow, and cultural reviews. The business models can be simulated to give quantitative results performance and costed results using tools such as Simul8™ and CaseWise® which can quickly handle what-if analysis to examine various scenarios. Modelling with IDEF for example can help with producing operational and quality procedures and assist in starting a continous improvement programme under the EQFM.

    System design & analysis

    Our systems analysis services focus on how the system works to fulfil the business needs. Modelling can be undertaken using a variety of methods including Yourdon Ward-Mellor, UML, SSADM, CORE, SSM, as well as functional block diagramming (FBD) and data models.

    Our specialty is in use case, activity, sequence, and state chart diagramming, and the functional allocations to physical architectures, applications, manual systems and human resources.

    We can simulate activity, sequence and state diagrams along with user interfaces and an external environment using a range of CASE tools, from Simul8™ and VISIO to Artisan. The results of the animation can assist in proving the overall functionality as specified works, establish the overall timings to complete given scenarios, and estimate overall loadings against external demands. Our experience is that this process shows up inconsistencies and assists in identifying further alternative paths. The information in these lower level models is used to verify the solution modelled against the parent requirements, and is used to populate lower level specifications. Often a number of alternative solutions or architectures are modelled and fed into cost-performance-programme trade offs.

    We will also map the functionality to candidate products and architectures. Knowledge of these candidates provides general timing, RAM, and performance characteristics to feed into the simulation along with capital or through life costs. The chosen products constitutes a Product (or System) Breakdown Structure which feeds in to the project management process as the WBS, so creating a round trip link from the business needs to the solution. As part of an iterative or evolutionary life cycle the PBS will have several versions as functionality and architecture is altered to provide additional capabilities or performance on each release.

    To complement the systems side we also analyse the organisational structure and under take task analysis, with full mapping to processes, systems, and operating rules and procedures.

    Our systems engineering approach uses functional model baselines and physical architectural baselines as key elements through to synthesis, with modelling providing a level of confidence

    Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Cost Reliability and maintainability predictions and Life Cycle Costing (LCC)

    Our RAM and LCC studies are performed either during the requirements phase to apportion RAM and cost budgets to individual segments in a cost effective manor so that parent (often emergent) requirements are met, or at a latter stage during detailed design or V&V, to ensure the solution or particular product meets the requirements. This is often necessary where a product has no track record because it is new or is being applied to a new use or environment. Such studies are also necessary where the system performance is dependant on the sum of the products, the geographical distribution, and maintenance and operating strategies applied. Our services include:

    Existing and comparative system data analysis for performance, RAM, safety, and cost including database development to support predictive analysis and performance logging. Development of mission profiles or required reliability or availability driven from the business need. Analysis of functional or physical solutions using HAZOP, FMEA and fault tree analysis to establish the behaviour effects of a failure and the potential causes. At a functional failure analysis level the process of applying these methods identifies where additional functions are needed to ensure acceptable behaviour under intrusion or internal failure conditions. These often translate into additional functional requirements. Availability and reliability modelling of alternative configurations based on candidate products and the results from the failure analysis. The results from a series of analyses provides insights to performance, resourcing levels, spares provisioning, and corrective and preventative maintenance concepts, for example determining the efficacy of alternative approaches such as fault tolerance, BIT and condition monitoring, or preventative maintenance, as part of RCM studies. Software and systematic failures analysis (CMF, CCF) to include the analysis of the product technologies, solution architecture, and operation and maintenance concept, and operating environment to establish potential dependant failures, and feeding this information back into reliability and availability simulations. Software (COTS or custom) reliability and dependency assessment includes an assessment of the development and test process and methods used, the architecture, and language. Life cycle costing or TCO based on product costs, predicted future costs based on maintenance factors such as life expectancy, obsolesance, technology refresh, and including the cost of failures or down time (production loss), and the predicted income streams.

    We combine the results from these analysis activities, to establish the drivers through pareto analysis, and propose the configurations, based on a set of cost-benefit (trade-off) studies. Our approach to RAM and LCC is closely linked to our systems analysis services, particularly where the timing / loading characteristic are related to the physical architecture and its reliability.

    When performed in the requirements phase, the RAM and cost parameters used in the model which produced an acceptable solution against parent requirements, become the derived requirements for the lower level specification, or if at the latter stage they become the detailed design solution.

    Safety, Ergonomics, Security, Business Continuity and QRA Studies

    Our services cover the full range of safety assessment, and is geared to the assessment of electronic programmable systems including apportionment, while being able to assess the installed environment.

    Hazard and threat identification including HAZOP's, FMEA's and index methods, human factors task analysis and quantification. Consequence analysis and causal and escalation analysis for accident scenarios using fault tree and event tree modelling. Overall quantification of risk, sensitivity and importance measures analysis to identify dominant contributors. Setting Risk Tolerability Criteria and determination of individual and societal risk from overall risk quantifications, identification of change options and evaluation of the change in risk when applying options, cost benefit analysis, and preparation of ALARP demonstrations. Risk Apportionment to function and subsystem SIL levels and audit of the development, implementation and operation and maintenance of products or systems against the specified SIL's. Development and audit of safety and risk management systems based on HSE's document H(G)65 and DnV's International Safety Rating Scheme (ISRS). General control room and construction safety management & risk assessments including those required under Construction Design & Management Regulations, Health and Safety Management regulations, Display Screen Equipment Regulations. Prepare Safety Plans, Site Safety Plans, Health and Safety Files. Support for security assessments under BS 7799 and CRAMM.

    Safety Case Support

    Our safety case development services include both (a) developing the safety requirements and supporting analyses and development arguments to demonstrate the requirements have been met and (b) technical authorship and management of the safety case.

    We are experienced in bringing together safety cases, particular incremental safety cases mirroring the development life cycle. Safety cases are not just about the "results" of the design but in the process used. Our experience in process definition across the broad project environment is an asset in this respect. We specialise in safety cases for integrated systems, where a number of subsystem safety must be prepared and We have the experience in such subcontractor or design team management.

    We develop safety cases formats and content definitions, together with defining the overall document structure and developing Safety Case Programme Plans for the relevant project phase. Our experience in formal requirements management, using DOORS® such as DOORS® or Requiste Pro®, assists us in managing complex safety cases. Using these tools, when correctly configured simplifies the product and audit of safety cases as reduces the duplication of tasks leading to a reduction in safety case development costs.

    We have in experience in producing safety cases consistent with the Railway Groups SMS V2/3 (Yellow Book) and IEC 61508, and working to DEF STAN 00-55 and 56. Our full range of safety services complement the development of safety cases.

    Software applications and programming capability

    Beaver has considerable experience with a variety of applications and has maintained licenses for a number of them. We operate a LAN at our offices with backup, CD-RW, and scanning facilities, providing a full production and test environment, and have several lap tops with GSM modems for remote working;
    • Requirements management tools including DOORS®, Requisite’Pro®, RTM®, CORE®, RDD®
    • Business and System Analysis tools including CASEwise Corporate Modeller®, Rational ROSE®, Popkins System Architect 2001®, SELECT Yourdon®, SELECT SSADM, EasyCase and for simulation SIMUL8™.
    • RDBMS development including Access, Clipper, dBase III, Dataease
    • General programming including Clipper, C, FORTRAN, basic assembler
    • General desktop applications including MS Word, Excel, Power Point, Access
    • Project Management tools including MS Project, PowerProject, Timeline, SureTrak, Launch Pad
    • Technical drawing tools including VISIO Pro
    • RAMS analysis tools including ISOGRAPHS Fault-tree+, AvSim+, RM's Logan, Risk Spectrum, and ITIMS's MILSTRESS, RCMCost.

    We have considerable experience in integrating the above COTS applications, and developing digital dash boards to provide integrated, role based, reporting capabilities, extending the facilities for example from MS Project Central, DOORS, and ROSE.

    Legislation and Standards

    We can assist you with compliance and auditing.;

    Legislative Safety Requirements including;

    • Consumer Protection Act,
    • Health and Safety at Work Act, and HSAWA Regulations including Management of Safety and Health, Display Screen Equipment Regulations, and Construction and Design Management.
    System and software standards including;
    • MIL STD’s 498 and 499, and IEEE 12207
    • IEEE 1220, EIA 632, and ISO 15220
    • SEI and FAA software CCM's, the EIA Systems Engineering CCM, and the recent SEI CMMI bring together software and systems and integrated product development.
    • CCTA CRAMM and BS 7799 standards for IT/IS security and risk assessment.
    Safety, RAM, Quality / TQM & ILS standards including;
    • DEF STAN’s 00-40/41/42/43/44, 0055/56/60 and 00-60
    • BS 8800
    • ISO 9000

    Beaver maintains a reference library which includes current and past standards detailed above.

    Peer Review and Document Inspection
    We can run a document inspection (Fagan) process for you. If you do not have document standards or quality criteria for the product under review we will prepare these for you first. We will then plan the review, training reviwers as needed, prepare the data pack, facilitate the review meeting, and follow up defects that are raised until closed out.

    For safety cases the peer review will include a number of document inspections, and examine the process used to produce the safety case and how well it was applied, to examine the safety requirements, and quality of the claim made on meeting the safety requirements, and the pedigree of the supporting evidence. We examine the completeness, correctness and consistency of the claims made and the supporting evidence.

    Six Sigma
    Many of our other capabilities are part of the Six Sigma tool kit and we experience in supporting six sigma initiatives using DMAIC and DMADV approaches. We will map processes using using the SIPOC format, collect current performance data, elicit the "Voice of the Customer" using our
    requirements capability, evaluate the "Voice of the Process" currently operating, and determine areas that are constraining delivery of customer driven requirements. Using our modelling capability we will investigate alternative processes, evaluate each option against agreed criteria, select the best candidate and then pilot. Following piloting we will review whether the objectives have been met, and if so we can then formally deploy the new process, including document preparation and release, training, mentoring, and monitor ongoing effectivess to ensure it has been appropriately institutionalise.

    Some assignments might need slightly different approaches, for example in some cases techniques such as Document Inspection are used to determine the number of defects and the current process capability.

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