The introduction of the Feature-base Product Line Engineering (PLE) standard last year, ISO/IEC 26580, finally provided a definitive answer to the question, “what is PLE?” It also presents the systems and digital engineering community with an awkward question. If virtually all complex systems engineering organizations build and deliver a product line – a family of similar systems with variations in features and functions – then why do our tools and methods teach and enable us to build the individual point solutions within a family rather than how to engineer a system family as a whole?
No matter how elegantly and precisely we weave the digital engineering fabric for individual point solutions in a family, trying to patchwork them together into a unified system family using conventional methods such as clone-and-own will always lead to non-digital engineering, with reliance on tribal knowledge to hold it all together. The result is tears, bulges, stains, wrinkles, holes, gaps and other unpleasantries in the digital fabric for the system family.
Engineering a product line, or system family, holistically is much more effective, efficient, elegant, and precise than engineering each of the systems individually. This requires us to engineer the product line as the single System of Interest, with variations formally defined to support the individual system instances within the family.
Feature-based Product Line Engineering (PLE), as defined by the new ISO/IEC 26580 standard, is the modern digital engineering approach to PLE. It now plays an essential and critical role in the new digital engineering age, while continuing to offer the engineering economies in effort, cost, time, scale and quality needed to deliver the most challenging product lines and system families.
This presentation will explore the inherent interdependency between successful digital engineering and PLE in the new digital age. It will show how the Vitech GENESYS / BigLever Gears Bridge can be part of an ISO/IEC 26580 compliant Feature-based PLE solution, providing a powerful digital engineering approach for precision digital engineering of a system family.
Dr. Charles Krueger is founder and CEO of BigLever Software, which for over two decades has helped organizations adopt and benefit from Feature-based Product Line Engineering (PLE). With more than 30 years of experience in systems and software engineering practice, he is a premier speaker, widely published author, and 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. He was the lead editor for the ISO/IEC 26580 standard on Feature-based PLE and past co-chair for the INCOSE PLE International Working Group.