Course is closed
Lead Instructor(s)
On Campus
Course Length
4 Days
Course Fee

This course is restricted to alumni/ae of the MITxPRO Architecture and Systems Engineering: Models and Methods to Manage Complex Systems program. For general enrollment see our Principles and Models for System Architecture course.

The complexity of products is increasing as we demand additional functionality and higher performance from them. In many cases, we must move to new architectures in order to accommodate this complexity. Furthermore, novel products and systems development require the involvement of and communication between professionals with multiple disciplinary backgrounds as well as with external stakeholders. This promise of this collaboration is to detecting failure modes and constraints early on during its lifecycle, but in practice the early phase of product development is often unstructured. In this course, we will show that complex engineering systems have a set of common principles that cuts across the traditional fields of engineering. 

Participant Takeaways

  • Rigorous thinking that fosters a holistic approach and creative solutions
  • Combination of systems architecting principles with modeling language
  • Hands-on collaborative experience via a small-scale team projects
  • Synthesize and analyze existing architecting approaches to reduce ambiguity and complexity.
  • Define system architecture, modeling, form, function, structure, and behavior.
  • Describe how a system's function emerges from its form and behavior.
  • Distinguish between the notions of system, product, service, and project, and how each creates value and competitive advantage for the enterprise.
  • Learn the OPCAT tool for modeling OPM, and leave with a project model

Who Should Attend

This program is restricted to participants who have completed the MITxPRO Professional Certificate Program in Architecture and Systems Engineering. It is intended for engineers and architects across industry sectors, software engineers, system integrators, system modelers, analysts and designers, academics, and executives.


Laptops are required for this course; tablets will not be sufficient for the activities performed.

In preparation, participants are advised to:

  • Bring 2-3 architectural diagrams from work, with proprietary information removed (or a created diagram “in the style” of architecture diagrams at work)
  • Download and install OPCAT v 4.2 from and read background material available on that website

Program Outline

Day 1

  • Concept
  • Participant project review
  • Architectural decisions
  • Exercise on architectural decisions
  • What is a system? A Model?
  • Introduction to OPM
  • Strategy & marketing impact on architecture
  • Strategy & marketing influence exercise
  • Evening reading assignment: Chapters 4,5,6 of Crawley, E., Cameron, B., Selva, D. System Architecture: Strategy and Product Development for Complex Systems. Prentice Hal, 2015 (included in tuition)

Day 2 (Starting today, this course will meet alongside the regular Principles and Models for System Architecture program)

  • Representing architecture in a tradespace
  • Exercise: Tradespaces
  • Modularity and architecture
  • Structural and procedural links
  • DSM as a representation, including interfaces
  • Coached session on project diagrams

Day 3

  • Intermediate project presentations
  • Complexity management in OPM
  • Rold and deliverables of the architect
  • Modeling cyber-physical systems and risk with OPM
  • Case study
  • DoDAF, SysML, and OPM

Day 4

  • Final project presentations

Other Instructors

Links & Resources

Course Reading Materials

Course Software

Used in industry and academia, OPCAT (academic version) is a software tool designed to support OPM. The updated version will be distributed to the students and serve as a platform to practice and apply the OPM analysis and design techniques, work on the examples and case studies, and carry out the mini-project. In preparation, participants are advised to download and install OPCAT (academic version) from and read the background material available on that website.



"A very good experience. The class broadened my understanding of what is involved in architecting a good system and gave me the opportunity to meet other engineers trying to solve problems similar to my own."
"The course has a considerable phase of exercises, giving you the possibility to put into practice immediately and with sequence of steps what you learn day-by-day."
"The course materials were both comprehensive and current with contextualization of the material in terms of the latest international research and development being conducted into modeling methodologies."

The type of content you will learn in this course, whether it's a foundational understanding of the subject, the hottest trends and developments in the field, or suggested practical applications for industry.

Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools - 10%|Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends - 35%|Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world - 35%|Out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving skills - 20%
Delivery Methods

How the course is taught, from traditional classroom lectures and riveting discussions to group projects to engaging and interactive simulations and exercises with your peers.

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format - 40%|Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning - 20%|Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations - 20%|Small group mini-project in participant's area of expertise - 20%

What level of expertise and familiarity the material in this course assumes you have. The greater the amount of introductory material taught in the course, the less you will need to be familiar with when you attend.

Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience - 40%|Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field - 40%|Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level - 20%