An Attribute is an observable characteristic of a system.

Alternative Names

Concept Number: *003
English Master: Attribute
Synonyms, Variations & Acronyms: Characteristic *003, Property *003


Any specific system can be described by a set of Past, present and desired Attributes.

There are four main categories of Attributes:

Product-Value: ‘How Good the System Is’
Function: ‘What the System Does’
• Resource: ‘What the System Costs’
• Design (or Architecture): ‘The Means for delivering the System’

All Attributes are qualified by Conditions, which describe the time, place and events under which the Attributes exist.
Attribute: “A characteristic of an Item; for example, the item’s color, size, or Type.”
Source: Dictionary of Computing Terms, IEEE 630-90, 1990.

inherent property or characteristic of an Entity that can be distinguished quantitatively or qualitatively by human or automated Means
[based on ISO/IEC 15939:2002]
Note: ISO 9000 makes the distinction between: inherent Means existing in something, especially as a permanent characteristic, and a characteristic assigned to a Product, Process or system (e.g. the price of a Product, the owner of a Product) is not a Quality characteristic of that Product, Process or system.



System Component


Reliability: “The Attribute tag name.”
Ambition: High duration of operation. “Summary of the target.”
Scale: Hours of <uninterrupted service>. “Defining the Measure.”
Goal [Next Release]: 6,000 hours. “The required target Level for the Attribute.”
The tag (Reliability) and the parameters (Ambition, Scale and Goal) provide a systematic framework for defining and referring to a Scalar attribute’s components.


1. Product-Value and resource Attributes are Scalar (described by a Quantification-Scale). Function and design Attributes are Binary (either present or absent).

2. Attributes can be Complex. They can be defined by a sub-set of Elementary Attributes.

3. An Attribute may be described by any useful set of Planguage parameters.

Keyed Icons

There is no specific icon for ‘attribute.’ The icons for the main categories of Attribute are used instead, as follows:
For a Function Attribute: O “The drawn icon is an oval.”
For a Product-Value Attribute: O-> “An outward pointing arrow from a Function.”
For a resource Attribute: ->O “An inwards pointing arrow to a Function.”
(The Past, Record, Trend, Fail, Goal, Stretch and Wish Scalar values are various points along these arrows and each
have their own icon, see the relevant Glossary entries.)
For a design Attribute: [<design name>] “The tag name of the design, underlined and enclosed in square brackets.”

Drawn Icons



History of Concept


This Concept entered by Kai.

Created by system. Last Modification: Thursday 11 of July, 2019 13:39:42 CEST by Admin (Kai).

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