Systems Engineering

Technical Baseline

The Technical Baseline includes user requirements, program and product information, and related documentation for all configuration items (i.e., those system elements under configuration management). Configuration items can consist of the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS), operational and system requirements in the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD), Capability Development Document (CDD), Capability Production Document (CPD), and Weapons System Specifications (WSS), hardware, software, and data documentation. A Configuration Management process manages the technical baseline to ensure accuracy.

Main Elements of the Technical Baseline

The technical baseline consists of the following Configuration Baselines:

Major Documents in the Technical Baseline Functional Baseline Allocated Baseline Product Baseline
System Performance Specifications X
Item Performance Specifications X
Item Details Specifications X
External Interfaces Specifications / Interface Control Documents X
Internal Interfaces Specifications / Interface Control Documents X
Functional Architecture X
Physical Architecture X X
Technical Architecture X
Table: Baseline and Specifications

Technical Baseline Documents & Artifacts

The technical baseline consists of many configuration documents, technical review artifacts, and information objects. Typically these include: [1]

  • specifications
  • drawings
  • interface control documents
  • requirements
  • parts lists or bill of materials
  • software documentation
  • standards
  • processes
  • models and simulation
  • architecture descriptions
  • and other associated items

What is the Product Baseline

A product baseline in product development serves as a comprehensive reference point that encapsulates the detailed design aspects for various stages of a product’s lifecycle, including production, fielding/deployment, and operations and support. It is a crucial document that outlines both the physical characteristics (form, fit, and function) and selected functional characteristics essential for production acceptance testing and production test requirements.

What is the Difference Between the Product Baseline and the Technical Baseline?

The terms “product baseline” and “technical baseline” are related concepts in the context of project and product management, but they have distinct focuses and serve different purposes. While both the product baseline and technical baseline play crucial roles in project and product management, the product baseline is more focused on the detailed design and lifecycle aspects of a specific product, while the technical baseline provides a broader view of the technical architecture and specifications for an entire system or project. It consists of the functional Baseline, Allocated Baseline, and Product Baseline. Let’s explore the key differences between them:

  1.  Focus and Scope:
    • Product Baseline: This primarily focuses on the detailed design aspects of a specific product. It includes information related to the physical characteristics (form, fit, and function) and selected functional characteristics of the product. The product baseline extends across the entire product lifecycle, from production to deployment and ongoing support.
    • Technical Baseline: This is a broader concept that encompasses not only the product design but also the overall technical architecture of a system or project. It includes specifications, configurations, interfaces, and other technical elements necessary for the development, implementation, and maintenance of the entire system.
  2. Purpose and Application:
    • Product Baseline: It serves as a detailed reference point for manufacturing, testing, and maintaining a specific product. It ensures that the product meets defined standards and requirements throughout its lifecycle.
    • Technical Baseline: It serves as a foundation for the entire project or system. It provides a stable reference for understanding the technical aspects of the project, facilitating communication among stakeholders, and guiding decision-making throughout the project’s lifecycle.
  3. Traceability:
    • Product Baseline: It is traceable to the system performance requirements specified in documents such as the Capability Development Document (CDD). The focus is on ensuring that the product aligns with the broader system goals.
    • Technical Baseline: It often includes traceability to higher-level requirements and system architecture. It ensures that the technical solution aligns with the overall project objectives and requirements.
  4. Scope of Control:
    • Product Baseline: It is more product-centric, emphasizing the specifics of the individual item being developed, produced, and supported.
    • Technical Baseline: It provides a more holistic view, considering the technical aspects of the entire system or project. It may include multiple products, subsystems, or components.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 12/18/2023

Rank: G2.2

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