The Concept of Operations (ConOps) is a paradigm found in space, defense, and enterprise IT projects. It provides value to the designers of the system through a perspective not available from the requirements alone.
It provides a view of the practical applications of the product in which to couch the design approach, helping to ensure the designer’s interpretation of the requirements is meaningful to the customer’s anticipated use of the product. The ConOps puts the operation of the product into a world view perspective by stating:
- Which operations need to be performed by the product and in what order?
- What the operator will be providing as inputs?
- When those inputs will become available in the operations timeline?
- What he/she is expecting as output?
- When that output is needed? How it will be used?
The ConOps is useful in a variety of domains and development methods. It defines the operational capabilities" of the system in the absence of specific technical requirements. It answers the question "what would I do with this system if it were operational now?"
If enterprise IT projects used ConOps in the same way software intensive space and defense do, the probability of success would be in creased for a simple reason - the requirements elicitation process has a dsecription of what "done" looks like before starting the capturing process.