New Ancestry Functionality offered in XFMEA 2018

ReliaSoft XFMEA offers several ways to manage and reuse data updated in real time to facilitate collaboration across the whole organization. In this article, we will be using the new Ancestry functionality offered in XFMEA 2018 to ensure that the integrity of the FMEA analysis is maintained when using existing data in order to save time and leverage analysis findings.

The new Ancestry functionality illustrated in the this article will also be highlighted during our webinar ReliaSoft 2018: New Capabilities.


In this example we will illustrate how two engineering teams, Team 1 and Team 2, working in different geographical locations, can collaborate on a similar development project for an automotive door. Team 1 has created an in depth FMEA of a door being developed while Team 2 team is working on an upgrade of a door available only in their geographical location (in order to meet European customers’ standards). To ensure consistency, Team 2 decides to collaborate with Team 1 on this project. Since Team 1's FMEA for their door model is complete, including risks being mitigated, corrective actions being implemented and monitored for their effects.

To maximize the use of resources and minimize time spent on creating a new FMEA, Team 2 is able to create a new FMEA analysis using the existing analysis performed by Team 1. This not only saves time and resources but also ensures that the information and knowledge gathered through previous analyses is leveraged. Team 2 creates a new project making sure that they use the same settings as the previous FMEA created by Team 1. (Please note that the Ancestry function requires both projects to be stored in the same database/repository. Their FMEA structure needs to match in order to be able to transfer information to new project). Fig. 1 shows the FMEA structure in the Project properties window (Team 2 should verify that the FMEA structure of the new project matches Team 1, (e.g., grouped effects and causes). Team 2 creates the FMEA analysis in the new project, right click to Add Multiple Functions > Transfer Functions. The Transfer Functions window opens as shown in Fig. 2. Team 2 should ensure the check box Track record associations is checked for real time update from Team 1.
Fig. 1: Team 2 needs to check that the FMEA structure of the new project matches Team 1.
Fig. 2: Team 2 should ensure the check box Track record associations is checked for real time update from Team 1.
The following options need to be selected:
  • Select Track record associations to maintain information about the association between the source records (Team 1) and the descendant records (Team 2). If the check box is cleared, Team 2 will not be notified of the changes made by Team 1. You cannot associate this information retroactively, it must be tracked from the time of the record transfer.
  • If Transfer revised RPN ratings as initial ratings is selected, each of Team 1 Transferred Functions revised severity, occurrence and detection rating (if any) will be set as initial rating for Team 2. If this option is not selected, the  initial and revised ratings will be unchanged in Team 2's functions. This option is selected by Team 2 to use a revised rating in each individual record as their model is unique.
  • Select Transfer actions and controls as new records to create new action and control resources in Team 2 records, rather than pointing to the existing resources. This option is only available when transferring functions within a single project; when transferring functions between projects, new actions/controls are always created. Team 1 and Team 2 can decide whether they want to work in the same project or whether they want to run parallel analyses and create new actions/controls.
Fig. 3 shows Column Customization to add Ancestry - Source Record and Ancestry - Descendant Record. These columns are very important for Team collaboration:
  • Team 1 uses Ancestry - Descendant Record that displays the number of records that have been using the selected source record.
  • Team 2 uses Ancestry - Source Record that indicates the status of the association with Team 1, which enables them to go directly to the source record, update or disconnect from Team 1.

The software visually notifies the user of a dependent whenever a change is made to the parent. The user can then decide if they want to accept the change, dismiss the change, or unlink from the source, as illustrated below.

Fig. 3: Column Customization

Fig. 4: Notification Source Options

Association Status

For each descendant record, the icon in the Ancestry - Source Record column in the FMEA hierarchy indicates the status of its association with the source record:

Green indicates that the source record has not been changed since EITHER the descendant was created OR since the last time a change notification for the descendant was accepted/dismissed.
Orange indicates that some change has been made to the source or its dependents. This can include:
  • A change was made to any field that was transferred from the source to the descendant.
    • If the source record and the descendant record are the same record type, all record properties are transferred.
    • If the record types do not match, only the description is transferred.
  • An immediate dependent was added to the source (e.g., a failure was added to a source function).
  • For descendant effects associated with source failures, the severity of the source failure’s effect was changed. If the source failure has more than one effect, a change to the effect with the largest severity value will trigger this status.
You can point to the change icon to view a tooltip that indicates the most recent change to the source record. Be aware that only the most recent change is displayed; other changes may also have occurred.

Red indicates that the source record has been deleted.
Right-clicking the notification icons provides the following commands:

Dismiss notification (orange only) resets the icon to green without making any changes. This is useful if Team 2 have determined that it is unnecessary to update the record in this particular case, but they still want notifications of subsequent changes from Team 1. Team 2 can dismiss notifications for the selected record, the selected record and its dependents, the entire analysis or the entire project.

Go to Source (green and orange only) opens the project and FMEA that contain the source record, and highlights the source record.
Update from Source (green and orange only) helps to view the changes that have been made by Team 1 and apply any that Team 2 prefers. This window compares the current state of the Team 1 record and Team 2 record, so it may have available changes even when the association status icon is green, if a change notification has previously been dismissed without making changes. Fig. 5 represents the Update from Source.

Fig. 5: Update from Source

Disconnect from Source (green, orange and red) removes the association between Team 2 and Team 1.
  • Team 2 can remove associations for the selected record or its dependents, the entire analysis or the entire project.
  • Select the Apply only if source does not exist check box if they want to remove associations to Team 1's deleted records and preserve the associations to records that still exist.
To access these commands from the FMEA worksheet view, right-click a record in Ancestry Descendant column in the worksheet, right-click a record choose Ancestry in the worksheet.


Ancestry is the next generation in data reuse, where you have the power of records association, with the flexibility of having changes automatically applied or otherwise. This ability saves time spent on data management with maximum flexibility, especially when working on complex systems.