Introduction to Arcadia with Capella

This site provides a tutorial based on the Arcadia design stages using the dedicated tool Capella. The Arcadia and Capella ecosystem supports Model-Based System Engineering and Architecture Definition with the goal of using the approaches on large-scale projects. The approach has been successfully tested and implemented in large industrial projects. Detailed information about the method and tool can be obtained at the PolarSys project and wiki pages:

The tutorial follows the steps to design a Toy Catapult to enable a parent and child to have fun together. This example is adapted from the book Jackson, P. L. (2009). Getting design right: a systems approach. CRC Press. The tutorial blends the Getting Design Right approach with the Arcadia method.

Toy Catapult Project

In this tutorial, we will work on a project related to building a Toy Catapult. The project is initiated by the grandparent of a child. The objective is to design a toy that allows the child's parent and the child to play together and have fun. The objective and design features will be detailed in the succeeding sections.

We will follow the Arcadia design stages in this project. The design seems like a relatively simple task so it may seem odd to apply such a rigorous process. On the other hand, the simplicity allows us to focus on understanding the design process without having to generate excessive detail.

The Toy Catapult project and design processes are adapted from the book:
Jackson, P. L. (2009). Getting design right: a systems approach. CRC Press. .

Example toy catapult in the market: Pathfinders Medieval Catapult Wooden Kit

Tasks in this tutorial are separated into two groups: (1) tasks that need to be performed to complete the design, and (2) side tasks to exercise the Capella tools / features.

  1. Whenever you observe an item like this (with a task number in green next to green dotted line), you need to complete this task to be able to complete the project.
  • On the other hand, whenever you observe an item like this (with a red bullet next to a red dotted line), this task is not directly related to the design of our project. However, we still recommend you complete such tasks as they aim to speed up your development.


You may send your questions or feedback to Peter Jackson.

Recall Peter Drucker's observation of the difference between doing things right and doing the right thing. This distinction is fundamental. The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. If we made an error doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. … It is much better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right.

Ackoff, R. L., & Pourdehnad, J. (2001). On misdirected systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 18(3), 199-205.

Engineering Systems Architecture course at Engineering Systems and Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design