Wednesday, 28 November 2018 18:27


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The Blackbird project is a group of Add-Ins for Sparx Enterprise Architect (EA) which allow the analyst/architect to integrate UML (Unified Modeling Language) to a variety of tasks.


Blackbird RA as an add-in which allows an analyst to perform Failure Mode and Effect Analysis on system designs. It was started as a Proof of Concept for the Enterprise Architecture department of a Fortune 15 pharmaceutical company to enable architects to spot reliability issues in systems design. The PoC code was refactored and re-written from scratch to provide a stable starting point for the project.

For more information on performing Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, see the article entitled Quantitative Reliability Assessment. It describes how to increase the reliability in complex software systems through the use of FMEA.


An architect models a process to identify the involved design elements. This is usually a common step to any design and you can use your existing models. The architect then selects each of the components in those modeled processes and models the Failure Modes for each design element by diagramming the Failure Modes and associating them to the element. Each Failure Mode is then given a set of Tagged Values recording its Severity, Probability, and the chance of Detection. Once a scored Failure Mode is associated with a design element, the element is considered a profiled item.


The architect can then request the Reliability add-in to scan through the model, find all the design elements which have Failure Modes associated to them, then for each one, calculate that elements Risk Priority Number based on the Failure Modes associated to it.

The result is a documented design and/or process flow and a list of the related design elements each with a Risk Priority Number (RPN).

Cloud Modeler

The Blackbird Cloud Modeler add-in allows an analyst to connect to different cloud platforms such as Azure, Google, Amazon, and others to collect various infrastructure data as standard UML models.

This project is still in the development stages.

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 December 2018 19:48
Steve Cote

Steve has been a systems architect for the telecommunications and electric utility industries creating circuit provisioning systems and smart grid solutions. He is a hands-on architect working with teams to deliver large complex projects. More recently, Steve has been consulting agile teams from Fortune 15 organizations, start-ups, and everything in-between to be more productive with DevOps and agile practices.

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