Software Engineering-Product Engineering Overview

The goal of product engineering is to translate the customer’s desire for a set of defined capabilities into a working product. To achieve this goal, product engineering—like business process engineering—must derive architecture and infrastructure. The architecture encompasses four distinct system components: software, hardware, data (and databases), and people. A support infrastructure is established and includes the technology required to tie the components together and the information (e.g., documents, CD-ROM, video) that is used to support the components.

The world view is achieved through requirements engineering. The overall requirements of the product are elicited from the customer. These requirements encompass information and control needs, product function and behavior, overall product performance, design and interfacing constraints, and other special needs. Once these requirements are known, the job of requirements engineering is to allocate function and behavior to each of the four components noted earlier.

Once allocation has occurred, system component engineering commences. System component engineering is actually a set of concurrent activities that address each of the system components separately: software engineering, hardware engineering, human engineering, and database engineering. Each of these engineering disciplines takes a domain-specific view, but it is important to note that the engineering disciplines must establish and maintain active communication with one another. Part of the role of requirements engineering is to establish the interfacing mechanisms that will enable this to happen.

The element view for product engineering is the engineering discipline itself applied to the allocated component. For software engineering, this means analysis and design modeling activities  and construction and integration activities that encompass code generation, testing, and support steps. The analysis step models allocated requirements into representations of data, function, and behavior. Design maps the analysis model into data, architectural, interface, and software component-level designs.
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