Big Lever Software, Inc.


Second Generation Product Line Engineering for Systems and Software (Part 4)

Greetings from Dr. Charles Krueger, BigLever CEO:

Welcome to Part 4 and the final installment of my special newsletter series spotlighting Second Generation Systems and Software Product Line Engineering (2G PLE) approaches. To see previous issues in this series, visit BigLever's newsletter page.)

Benefits of 2G PLE

With the innovative engineering capabilities provided by 2G PLE, your business and engineering organizations can shift perspective to focus on a singular production system capable of automatically producing the products in your product line – from a supply chain of shared PLE assets – rather than the manual creation of a multitude of products. With this shift in perspective, the complexity of managing multiple products with their exponential interdependencies is eliminated and replaced by an automated means of production.

Similar to what is seen when adopting an efficient manufacturing system, the resulting benefits give rise to a discontinuous jump in capability, not measured in percentage points, but more often measured in multiples or order-of-magnitude strategic improvements such as:

  • An increase in the scope of product diversity and the scale of different products that can be effectively delivered in a product line.
  • An increase in productivity and efficiency, a reduction in per-product development cost and overhead, and higher profit margins.
  • A reduction in time to market for new and updated products, and an increased agility to assertively react to new opportunities and changing marketplace conditions.
  • An increase in product quality, a reduction in defect density and improved risk management.

The exciting thing about discontinuous jumps in capability, as illustrated in this graphic (click image to enlarge), is that they open up new frontiers in innovation, competitive advantage and profitability, offering new possibilities that were not easily conceivable in the past. By using PLE to more quickly deliver larger numbers of precisely targeted products, with better quality and with less effort than your competitors, you can successfully capture marketplace leadership.

A pivotal strategic benefit of this 2G PLE approach is the shift away from product-centric product marketing to feature-based portfolio marketing. The diversity of products that can be automatically produced by a PLE production line is a direct consequence of the scope of the feature variations designed into the production line. Thus, the traditional role of product marketing – defining the individual products to take to market – is elevated to product line portfolio marketing. With feature-based portfolio marketing, the scale and scope of the portfolio are defined in terms of the common features and feature diversity supported by the PLE production line and the feature profiles that describe each of the products delivered to market.

Some of the dramatic strategic benefits that come from the new paradigm of feature-based portfolio marketing include:

  • Portfolio features become the lingua franca among product marketing, business executives, engineering managers and even the automated PLE production line, which can significantly improve communication and alignment among stakeholders.
  • Adding a new product to the portfolio is a simple matter of creating a new feature profile to drive the automated PLE production line.
  • Adding, updating or extending the portfolio with a new feature or feature combination is a simple matter of delta engineering – extending the production line to support the new feature, either as a common feature for all products or as a varying feature option available in a subset of the products.
  • Because of the low cost and effort required to extend the product line portfolio, new products become commodities rather than resource-intensive investments. Even small, niche, one-off or low-margin opportunities can be profitable to pursue.

This feature-based portfolio approach enables you to define the scale and scope of your product line portfolio based on business opportunities and revenue optimization. You no longer have to be constrained by the complexity and limitations of product-centric approaches.

Stepping into the new frontier

The advanced, proven and pragmatic 2G PLE capabilities provided by the BigLever solution opens new frontiers for innovation and profitability. The fundamental PLE shift in perspective allows you to focus your business and engineering teams on creating an efficient means of production – a single, automated PLE production line – rather than creating a multitude of products.

The BigLever Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework offers a consistent and integrated solution for the tools and assets that span the systems and software engineering lifecycle. The incremental 3-Tiered PLE Methodology offers non-disruptive and seamless transitions from current practices into a more efficient and effective PLE practice. BigLever's PLE solution and expertise have played a major role in helping leading-edge companies leverage the latest PLE technologies, tools and methods to establish highly successful PLE practices to meet the specific needs of their organizations.

What if the innovation, economy of scale, competitive advantage and profitability of your product line were limited only by your imagination, instead of by the capacity of your engineering team?

Thank you for your interest in BigLever Software and our special newsletter series. To review the information provided in this series, see Product Line Engineering Solutions for Systems and Software.

Best Regards,

Charles W. Krueger
BigLever Software CEO


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