Operational Capability and lower system levels

Bonjour to all,
When applying the methodology (for training purpose) to the system “aircraft” the following question arise: should we use Operational Capability only on the system’s upper level (aircraft) or does it apply to lower level too? Following are my doubts:

  1. According to Arcadia Operational Capability is “capability of an organisation to provide a
    high level service leading to an operational objective being reached”.
  2. So for aircraft level the Operational Capability is mainly “To move passengers and cargo” in my opinion.
  3. When transiting to lower level system (for instance let’s take Flight Deck interior) should we still work with operational capability for this system level or this time we have to work with operational activities (because it is no longer the high level service)?

Or does Arcadia propose to use Operational Capability on every system level?

Thank you in advance for clarification.

Hi AviatoR,

As far as I know Arcadia, the operational capabilities are realized only by the high-level system.
If you want to model a subsystem autonomously, you don’t always need an operational analysis of the subsystems because the system analysis can already be deduced from that of the high-level system. However, if you still want or need one, then it can also have its own operational capabilities because it is as if it became the system. In that case, its OC might or might not be shared with the system, and you’ll have to follow again the definition you gave to determine them.

Does that answer your question? And does someone have something to correct or to add?


Operational Capability is a concept of the Operational Analysis perspective. You may want to do an Operational Analysis:

  • If you already know your system-of-interest (SOI): to elicitate, analyze and obtain agreement on the needs of the stakeholders that are part of the system context. For instance, if your SOI is the flight deck, then you may want to study the interactions between the pilot(s) and the aircraft as a whole, between the aircraft and its environment (hence considering environmental conditions, but also interactions with airports for instance), between pilots and control towers, etc.

  • If you don’t know your SOI: to study a “problem” (let’s say, the problems on communications between aircrafts and control towers), identify where are the pain points, and imagine a solution that could be proposed to solve these problems (the solution would be your SOI).

Note that the SOI doesn’t appear in the Operational Analysis. Which means that the Operational Capabilities refer to the stakeholders’ expected capabilities, not to the capabilities that will be provided by your SOI.

When you use the Systems Analysis perspective, it is implied that you already know the SOI you’re dealing with. Then you talk about Capabilites, which are System Capabilities. These System Capabilities will contribute to the realization of the stakeholders’ Operational Capabilities.

Hope this helps

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Thank you, that was my understanding too.

Thank a lot for the clarification, it’s more clear now.

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