Given that Innoslate is a Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) tool, we get a lot of questions about our diagrams and their functionality. Out of the 24 diagrams in Innoslate, my personal favorite is the Spider Diagram and for many reasons. For more reasons than I can put into this one blog. So, I’ll focus on my top 3.
- The Spider Diagram’s purpose provides Innoslate users a large amount of insight that is often overlooked.
- The Spider Diagram provides a vital purpose in the Lifecycle Modeling Language (LML), and what a lot of organizations are looking for today: traceability.
- The flexibility of the Spider Diagram and its functionality will make your MBSE approach much easier to implement and make it your go-to blank canvas diagram for almost any visualization you need to make.
Hopefully, by the time you are done reading this, you will see why the Spider Diagram could be one of your favorite diagrams as well.
Per the (LML) Specification Guide, the Spider Diagram shows how entities are related to one another. Does that sound almost too simple? There’s an underlying beauty there that must be exposed. The Spider Diagram shows all entities’ relationships to one another no matter the class of information within Innoslate. This means you are not limited to the classes of information that the other diagrams are only concerned about. When troubleshooting an issue for Innoslate, one of the first go to places is the Spider Diagram. It provides a lot of information and insight regarding relationships made within a project (without having to go to Database View). This is only possible due to the Spider Diagram’s intended purpose and capabilities. When you dig into Innoslate and go from view to view, you’ll find no matter what if you’re doing your functional analysis in an Action Diagram, or your reviewing your Requirements in Documents View, you’ll always have the option to open that entity and all its relationships up in a Spider Diagram. This diagram provides an effective way to look at your data and it gives you a great starting point when you’re stuck and needing to look at something in an abstract view, so you can really hone in on the actual problem at hand.
Another, even more powerful purpose can be found in the Innoslate Help Center, where it states that the Spider Diagram is a visualization for traceability beyond what a typical hierarchy type diagram can offer. The Spider Diagram makes this pretty easy within Innoslate, when you open it up in the tool and see one of the first options is “Traceability Relationships” (Of course, when you do this you must have also made the necessary relationships to those entities). A point I often must make is that Innoslate easily satisfies this requirement in the tool with the use of creating relationships from Requirements entities to Test Cases entities and to many other entities you need to relate your requirements to. The Spider Diagram shows how entities are related to each other and can be an easy go-to when you’re working in Innoslate and find yourself asking, how can these requirements be traced?
When you bring in the power of the Schema Editor with the Spider Diagram, you can start displaying those classes of information you’ve added to the Schema and the relationships you’ve added there as well. When you put the schema changes together along with the Spider Diagram, this is a great way to communicate your models. You can customize all this and more with Innoslate’s left-sidebar functionalities. With this same sidebar, you can also create new and/or pull up existing entities of any class and then also create the necessary relationships while in this diagram.
Tip: (You can create entity relationships by selecting the entity block and clicking on one of the green circles on the frame of the entity block. Then continue to hold down the left mouse button and drag the green line that generates to another entity block of your choice that you would like to create a relationship with. When the other entity block highlights bright green, release the left mouse button to add a relationship.)
This opens the ‘Create New Relationship’ dialog. Use the drop-down menu or type in the name of the relationship you would like to add in the ‘Select option’ field). Automatically provided is a built-in legend (it’s draggable on the canvas) of the relationship color lines when you decide what relationships you’d like to see. Then, you can even color code the entities to specify classes of information with the toolbar options on the top canvas pane, and color code font as you’d like to specify even more from one entity to another.
Flexibility and Functionality
Lastly, you can select how many levels you’d like to show (can show up to 10 levels); you can even turn off color mode from the top right wrench option on top of the canvas. The Spider Diagram allows Innoslate users and MBSE beginners a quick and easy way to familiarize oneself with MBSE and the modeling functionality of Innoslate. Even better, I have also found this is a great way to get familiar with the Lifecycle Modeling Language. All powerful and easy things to note when wanting to display your data to your stakeholders.
When organizations first start talking to us about their need for a tool like Innoslate, we usually find one of the main reasons is to have the ability to trace and verify requirements. My answer to them is this, “Innoslate can easily satisfy this requirement in the tool by creating these relationships from requirement entities to many other entities within the tool.
With the ontology provided in the tool, you can display this traceability in many ways.” However, if you’re not familiar with Innoslate or LML, this is not so easy to talk about without sharing a screen with you (we can’t take on these serious problems with a MBSE approach without at least showing you). Which is why we love to meet with you to discuss Innoslate, demo the tool and go one on one to dig deeper into your questions (please feel free to reach out to us to schedule a demo here). Since LML fully encompasses the whole lifecycle with its ontology, the traceability and satisfaction of requirements is key and we are happy to show you how those requirements are satisfied, traced, verified, and more; all in the LML Spider Diagram.