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Implementing and Integrating Product Data Management and Software Configuration Management


Publication Type:



Artech House Publishers


Product Data Management (PDM) is the discipline governing the control of the product data and processes used during the entire life cycle of a product. Companies developing and manufacturing hardware products have traditionally used PDM. Software Configuration Management (SCM) is the discipline encompassing the control of the evolution of software products. Over the years, PDM and SCM have evolved in parallel with little or no communication between the separate developers of software and hardware. Today, products are often complex systems consisting of hardware, software, and related documentation, placing new demands on the system integration. Such complex products are often developed by several groups, each developing its part of the product, making use of either PDM in the case of hardware or SCM in the case of software components. At the point in time at which the components must be integrated to constitute the final product, information controlled by PDM and SCM must also be integrated. This is not easy as considerable information of different formats is involved. Without direct support such as that provided by PDM and SCM tools, it is almost impossible.Indeed, at this point many companies experience serious problems – information integration is found to be difficult to achieve, especially when managed by different tools from different domains. Why is this so? There are many reasons, technical and non-technical. Technically, it is difficult to transfer information between different systems in an efficient way and to keep information in many systems consistent. The interoperability of PDM and SCM could thus be a key factor in the efficient management of total product information. However, PDM and SCM tools are not designed to communicate. Non-technical factors can have even more serious results. System and hardware engineers frequently do not understand software engineers and their demands on a configuration management system, and vice versa. PDM users and SCM users may use the same or similar terms, but these terms often have different meanings to each category and are understood differently. Companies have serious problems in using PDM and SCM together. The degree to which their engineers, developers and project mangers have knowledge of both disciplines is typically low, the overall development process is usually complex and not properly defined, and the integration possibilities provided by PDM or SCM vendors are limited.The purpose of this book is to build a bridge between PDM and SCM and between the users of these tools. The first step towards this is to create a common understanding of the two disciplines. The book aims at this by providing an overview of PDM and SCM separately and in relation to each other. In this way both PDM and SCM users can learn and understand the needs and requirements of the other discipline from their own perspective. Comparing and analyzing key functions of tools from both disciplines gives a deeper insight into both the use of the tools and how they can be integrated. Further, the book discusses the possibilities of their integration. As integration is not only a matter of the integration of the tools but also of the processes in which these tools are used, the book describes and discusses product life cycle processes and their relation to PDM and SCM. The principles of integration and the information which can be integrated are discussed in particular. To provide a more concrete understanding, several cases of integrated tools and processes are presented in the book. Case studies from several large international companies demonstrate the state-of-practice use of PDM and SCM and provide a basis for discussion.


author = {Ivica Crnkovic and Ulf Asklund and Annita Persson-Dahlqvist},
title = {Implementing and Integrating Product Data Management and Software Configuration Management},
isbn = {1-58053-498-8},
month = {January},
year = {2003},
publisher = {Artech House Publishers},
url = {}