Several other areas including testing, software change, and compliance all create complexity in the management of software development:

  • Fixing, tracking and testing software is typically done manually, resulting in delays and poor quality.
  • Software changes at 10 to 100x the rate of hardware changes. Managing change as requirements that are changed late in the process be comes cumbersome, especially when the change affects multiple product variants.
  • New compliance regulations (ISO 26262 in automotive, for example) also increase complexity, which require traceability in software development processes so that companies can easily demonstrate compliance.

Without formal integrated processes for requirements, change management, testing, and reporting, the potential for errors and delays can be massive and expensive.

A New Approach is Needed

PTC’s Creo suite enables engineers to design, model, and simulate all aspects of a car, including the electronics.
How can these challenges be met? And what do designers need to know when designing, simulating, and manufacturing these software-intensive products?

Design engineers need to understand that software development processes are part of the entire product development process, and they must recognize that the dynamics around the development of software are far different than those of electrical and mechanical design and development, and to take these differences into account when implementing the software process. It is also important to determine the interdependencies of the software development process to the overall system- wide process. Finally, the process needs to extend across the entire design and delivery spectrum. These processes should allow for efficient and innovative design and development, while minimizing the likelihood of introducing defects into the product.

Another way to ensure that a product development solution is comprehensive and integrated is to adopt a single product to manage core engineering artifacts across the product development lifecycle. With an end-to-end automated software engineering solution, software development resources can be focused on core product development and product innovation, leading to more competitive product lines and accelerated time-to-market with new features.

Discrete manufacturing organizations that make these investments to ensure that software development is managed effectively and accelerates innovation in products can become the industry leaders and deliver the types of products their customers are demanding.

This article was written by Jake Simpson, Division General Manager, Application Lifecycle Management, at PTC in Needham, MA. For more information, visit

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