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Functional Analysis

INTRODUCTION

The concept of functional analysis was first developed by Lawrence D. Miles to address difficulties in satisfying the requirement to meet shortages of manufactured parts and electrical components which were in high demand during World War II. His concept of functional analysis was further developed in the 1960s by Charles W. Bytheway, a design Engineer. Bytheway introduced the methodology called Function Analysis Systems Technique (FAST) whilst extending Miles's functional analysis concepts.

In designing, developing and proving any project, the mission and consequent functions that the project shall perform shall be clearly established. This functionality shall be distributed throughout the different design levels (e.g. systems, subsystems, units). The allocation of the unit functions in a systematic manner is an important step in establishing a design which meets all the project objectives (Woodhead & Downs, 2001).

Whatever approach one uses, functional analysis can generally be represented as shown in figure 2. The function, "Generate more revenue" represents the reason for doing the project. The top level functions are the dependent functions and are further partitioned into some number of functions; i.e. when all of the first level functions are completed, the project is completed. Because a function tree is based on the project requirement, functional requirements, and already defined functions, all functions must satisfy a customer's requirement and shall be distinguished from those required to satisfy a requirement generated by the selected functional solutions.

For any function which does not possess these characteristics, we partition into a set of necessary and sufficient function at the next level down. This is a good way to introduce standardization into system development methodology.

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