Next in our series is Product Line Engineering in the New Digital Age by Dr. Charles Krueger. Dr. Krueger is CEO of BigLever and has helped organizations adopt and benefit from Feature-based PLE, for over 20 years. With more than 30 years of experience in systems and software engineering practice, he is an acknowledged thought leader in the PLE arena. He brings innovative PLE concepts, state-of-the-art methodologies, and success stories to the forefront of the systems engineering community.

What are the inherent interdependency between successful digital engineering and PLE initiatives in the new digital age? It’s more than just an engineering paradigm shift; a critical paradigm shift is required in the ways that business and engineering leadership communicate and collaborate in order to achieve common objectives for the business.

In the first half of his presentation, Charlie expanded on the idea of PLE in the digital age with the premise that PLE is an integral part of digital engineering. You cannot successfully transition to digital engineering and try to sustain old conventional document-centric and interpersonal communication techniques such as clone-and-own, branch-and-merge, and tool-specific variation management silos for PLE. He also shared his experience that nobody builds just one in the new digital age — virtually all organizations building complex systems with digital engineering approaches are building system families. The conclusion made is that digital engineering requires modern, digital, Feature-based PLE in order to be successful.

In the second part of his presentation, Charlie described how modern digital engineering and PLE require business and engineering within an organization to collaborate to a much higher degree than previously seen with previous approaches. From a business perspective, the benefits of a good Feature-based PLE approach looks like a more efficient utilization of organizational resources, such as eliminating mundane tasks seen in previous solutions, enabling engineers to shift their focus from low value tasks to high value innovative work, and providing a business framework for strategic cost-benefit decisions about product family variations being offered to their market. Charlie showed two examples of how modern Feature-based PLE can be expressed in term of improvements in organizational efficiency when compared to legacy PLE approaches.

In closing, Charlie described how in the New Digital Age, business leader are taking a leading role in transforming to the modern digital form of Feature-based PLE. To achieve business objectives, Business leaders are asking their Engineering leaders, “What is our PLE strategy?” and expecting a viable answer.

You can watch the complete presentation on the Momentum Video site.