What you should know about product management

This post will explain important words used in project management : Milestone, trade studies,Lifecycle, multirepresentation etc…

Using the correct words will give others a good impression about your skills, this post will help you to do so!

Document Iteration

  • A new document iteration is made when the electronic file corresponding to a user save operation is preserved in the vault without overwriting the existing electronic file for the same document ID (metadata).

Ultimately, you’ll want to throw them away.  But not just yet …

Capture.PNGInstead of overwriting existing files in the vault, a new document iteration joins its “sibling” iterations in the document vault. The primary purpose of this mechanism is for security reasons; if ever the user corrupts or loses a document, he can restore or “roll back” a “healthy” document from among the previously saved iterations.

He can then resume his work from the retrieved iteration.Document iterations are especially relevant in high-end CAD design, where part geometry and connectivity can become quite sophisticated. If the user feels that he has taken a wrong path, sometimes it is easier to start over again from a previously saved iteration than it is try to “undo” the regretted modifications.In general, however, document iterations are transparent to the end-user and are only accessed in the event of emergencies.

Like old invoices, you hold on to them for a 


while just in case there is a mistake.

Then one day you throw them away!

To remember:

Document iterations are made automatically at each user save operation.

Document iterations are more discrete than document revisions, the latter being explicitly created by the user.  Document revisions – and not individual document iterations – possess attributes such as ownership, maturity, and lock status.

Document revisions are persistent; document iterations are not.


If you work without document iterations, your document is like a slateboard; each modification overwrites the previous one.

If you work with document iterations, your document is like a notebook; each additional modification takes its place alongisde the others.

  • Sometimes confused with …

–Design iterations

–Document revisions

–Document formats

  • Also referred to as …

–Save iterations

Trade studies

Trade studies are competing solution scenarios for an entire product, or an important component of that product, during the design phase.

Whereas design alternatives concern a single part, trade studies are alternatives whose impact extends across an entire assembly or product

Example: Front axle solution scenarios


  • Sometimes confused with …


  • Also referred to as …

–Solution alternatives


Multi-representation is when several documents are used to describe one part.

While modern CAD files can capture precise 3D representations of a part’s geometry, this pretty shape is not sufficient to capture all of the part’s complexity and behavior. Multi-representation describes the practice of defining several documents which collectively describe a part. Even if we disregard non-geometrical representations, a given part potentially has many different geometrical representations which can include any of the following (non-exhaustive):

ØDetailed 3D geometry

ØLightweight approximated geometry (for visualization mode e.g., CGR)

ØSimplified geometry (for CAE analysis … e.g., no fillets)

Ø2D drawing (for “old fashion manuf, or tech doc)

ØSwept volume ( for mounting/unmounting studies)

ØVibration volume (for other analysis)

ØPre-machined representation (for manufacturability sutdies)

ØPost-assembly deformation (for complex assembly manuf simultation)


As opposed to managing each document independently, it is convenient to have an object which federates or collects all these documents together.


Since it is natural for the part object to fulfill this role, we can think of it as a bucket.



For checking progress along the way

Milestones (or program milestones) are pre-determined checkpoints used to measure and track progress during a big project or an entire product development program.

1.Milestones are checkpoints determined ahead of time in order to measure progress on a product development program.

2.Milestones are the gates which mark the close of distinct project phases.  The virtual product is assembled and validated at this point in time.  

3.A number of conditions might need to be met (e.g., absence of clash, target KPIs) in order for the phase to be officially completed.

  • Each milestone represents an actual date or product unit number.
  • For example:

ØMilestone 1: “Prototype”    = January 2012

ØMilestone 2: “Certification”  = June 2013

ØMilestone 3: “Production”   = December 2013

  • Companies that master their own products have typical milestones in their product development process

ØMilestones are different depending on industry segments, but they all reflect a sort of RFLP process

Although milestones get closer and closer together over the course of a vehicle project, the time between them is almost always measured in months.


  • Sometimes confused with …

–Part maturity



–Checkpoints (more frequent than milestones)

  • Sometimes referred to as …

–Project phases



Distinct states over the course of a lifetime

lifecycleLifecycles specify the distinct states that an object (a part, a product, an assembly ….) can evolve through during the course of its lifetime.

Part maturity is an attribute which can only take pre-defined values.
The lifecycle specifies these values.

These values can only be assigned according to a specific order, also defined by the lifecycle, usually going from lower to higher maturity

And ending ultimately in a final, or terminal, maturity state.

It is thus natural to speak of maturity “levels.” Changing maturity levels is often referred to as “promoting” or “demoting” the object.

  • Lifecycles can potentially be used on a wide variety of object types in order to capture fine distinctions in overall maturity.
  • Bellow, example of one possible use of maturity distinctions at five different levels in an assembly structure:Capture

1.Instance level: mature when the position is satisfactory

2.Assembly level: mature when there are no clashes among components

3.Part reference level: mature when an official part number has been issued

4.CATPart document level: mature when the geometry is satisfactory

5.CATDrawing level: mature when satisfactory for manufacturing needs


The classic and typical object lifecycle is:

  • WIP: work in progress
  • APP: waiting for approval
  • REL: released
  • REJ: rejected

Sometimes confused with …

–Product lifecycles

–Data access control (public/private)

–Insertion into the VPM Reference

  • Also referred to as …

–Phases and gates

–(Part) maturity


If you like this post let me know!, there will be more!

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