A Maturity Model for Simulation

Recently I was on a panel at the CIMdata Simulation & Analysis Council Workshop in Cincinnati. I was asked about Simulation Governance (managing simulation as a strategic competence) and specifically how to raise management’s awareness of the importance of simulation. Something that I’d discussed with the moderator Keith Meintjes in the past is the idea of the maturity model for simulation, which could offer a path to C-suite recognition. My answer offered a description of how that might work.

The familiar software development capability maturity model that Carnegie Mellon University defined calls out:

1. Initial/heroics – process is ad hoc

2. Repeatable – the organization tracks cost, schedule, and functionality

3. Defined – all projects use a version of the standard process

4. Managed – process and products are quantitatively understood and controlled

5. Optimizing – continuous process improvement

Maybe the Simulation Maturity Model should start out sounding similar at the lower levels, but diverge later in the continuum:

1. Initial – basic static simulation, with little effect outside of department

2. Virtual testing – simulation duplicates test, and test and simulation commonality within an attribute is achieved, encouraging managers to take notice

3. Simulation driven design – CAE influences new tests to bring fidelity to early models, and directors trust early simulation

4. Optimization driven design – extrapolate on a base design, early robustness studies and MDO; VPs see material/cost savings

5. Requirement based design – high level “what ifs?” start to influence product strategy, and the C-suite becomes engaged

Perhaps this isn’t perfect, but it stimulated some discussion at the workshop. Certainly Altair has invested in Business Intelligence technology, as we understand that visualizing product data at the highest level requires dashboards, not the Von Mises stress plots we’ve grown up on! Also, the solidThinking products that we have brought to market employ HyperWorks technology presented through a more accessible GUI, because it is important that the simulation provided to both the higher and broader audiences employ the same physics and the same high quality modeling. So I’d say this view of simulation maturity correlates with the pull we are seeing from our customers at all levels of engineering organizations who are adopting simulation driven design.

Tony Norton
Tony Norton

About Tony Norton

Tony leads the Americas based Altair ProductDesign teams in the delivery of early concept (industrial design, design exploration, testing & prototyping) and advanced simulation driven design (cutting-edge modeling, optimization, methods development & automation) to our customers. Before joining Altair UK in 1996, he worked at both Ford Motor Company and GEC-Marconi Avionics. He moved to Michigan in 1999 to join Altair US, and holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Hertfordshire in England.