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What is Product Engineering?

Updated: Feb 21


Product engineering is the holistic process of innovating, designing, developing, and optimizing both physical and digital products throughout their entire lifecycle, from conception to end-of-life. It involves close collaboration between design, engineering, and production teams to ensure alignment with client goals, functionality, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness. By applying engineering principles, design thinking, and project management methodologies, product engineering enhance user experience, software quality, and overall system performance. This encompasses the creation of manufacturable products, with dedicated project teams focusing on different phases, such as hardware design by CAD development engineers and software development by software engineers.


Product Engineering for Startups vs Software Product Development:

In the context of software development, "product engineering for startups" and "software product development" are often used interchangeably to refer to the process of designing, developing, testing, and maintaining a software application or system.


Startups often fail due to lack of proper software product engineering practices. This leads to poorly designed systems, high costs, and limited functionality. By focusing solely on software product development, founders neglect crucial elements such as scalability, security, and performance. As a result, companies struggle to grow beyond their initial success and ultimately face bankruptcy. To avoid this fate, startups must adopt best practices in software product engineering, ensuring that their systems are built to last and meet the needs of their users.


However, there are some key differences between these two terms:



Scope: While both terms involve creating and managing a software project, they have slightly different scopes. Product engineering for startups focuses on the overall architecture, features, and quality attributes of an entire product line, while Software product development typically refers to the creation of individual products within that line.

Focus: Product engineering tends to be more focused on long-term strategic planning and decision making, whereas Software product development is generally more concerned with short-term goals such as meeting deadlines and delivering specific features.

Responsibilities: In general, product engineers are responsible for overseeing all aspects of a product's lifecycle, including requirements gathering, architectural design, code implementation, testing, and maintenance. On the other hand, Software product developers may specialize in certain areas like frontend or backend development, but their responsibilities still include working closely with product management and QA teams throughout the project.

Skills Required: Both roles require strong technical skills (e.g., programming languages, databases), but product engineers also need expertise in various domains such as market research, business analysis, and project management. Meanwhile, software product developers usually possess domain knowledge related to their area of work (e.g., web development, mobile app development).



Product engineering focuses on the overall architecture, features, and quality attributes of an entire product line, while Software product development typically refers to the creation of individual products within that line.
Product engineering and product development are interchangeably used but change basis the function.

At CAW, Product Engineering is a 3 Tier Process:

  1. Platform Strategy and Engineering

  2. Product & Platform Engineering

  3. Product Modernisation

Let us look at defining Platform Strategy and Engineering @CAW Studios

So What is Platform Strategy and Engineering? Microservice Architecture - A distributed system made up of small, independent processes communicating with each other through APIs. This allows for faster development times, easier scalability, and better fault tolerance than monolithic applications.



API-Led Connectivity - An approach where the primary way data is shared between systems is via APIs rather than direct integration or database access. This promotes loose coupling and makes it easier to evolve and scale your application over time.

An image showing the importance of API -Led connectivity as compared to direct integrations
Evolve and scale your application over time using APIs rather than using direct integrations



Design Thinking - A methodology used by designers, engineers, and business leaders to solve complex problems by breaking them down into smaller parts and iteratively testing ideas until a solution is found. It involves empathizing with users, generating new ideas, prototyping quickly, and validating those ideas with real customers.



Agile Development Methodologies - A set of practices and tools designed to improve collaboration, communication, and flexibility in software projects. These include sprint planning, daily standups, continuous integration/deployment, and adaptive estimation.



Automated Testing and Continuous Integration - The process of automatically running tests on every code change to ensure quality and prevent bugs from slipping into production. This includes unit testing, integration testing, functional testing, and performance testing.


Spiral image showing various level of QA Testing Strategies
Run tests on every code to ensure quality and prevent bugs in production



How we helped a Legacy Healthcare Client digitally transform? The company had been struggling to keep pace with its competitors as they continued to innovate and grow their market share. They were facing challenges such as slow response times, high costs associated with manual processes, and limited visibility into customer behavior. As a result, they decided to embark on a digital transformation journey aimed at improving efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing customer experience.

The CAWStudios PROCESS.

How do we match Modern, Cloud-native Applications with cutting-edge technologies?

To achieve these goals, the company turned to a team of our experienced software developers and architects who specialized in building modern, cloud-native applications using cutting-edge technologies like Kubernetes and Docker. Together, they developed a comprehensive roadmap outlining how they would transform their existing legacy infrastructure into a highly available, secure, and scalable platform capable of handling massive amounts of traffic while maintaining excellent performance.




Image of modern, cloud-native applications
Modern, cloud-native applications using cutting-edge technologies like Kubernetes and Docker

Why did we build a microservice architecture?


One key aspect of the strategy was adopting a microservices architecture, which allowed them to break down their monolithic application into smaller, more manageable components that could be deployed independently. This not only improved developer velocity but also enabled them to easily scale individual services based on demand without having to rewrite entire sections of the application.

An image of Micro-service architecture
Change Monolithic application into smaller, more manageable components


Why does an API- driven connectivity model help?


Another critical component of their plan involved implementing an API-driven connectivity model. By exposing all of their internal services as RESTful endpoints, they were able to decouple their various subsystems and enable seamless integration with third-party partners and external APIs. This not only simplified their own development efforts but also opened up opportunities for future expansion and customization.

How do we incorporate a Design thinking process?


Design thinking played a crucial role in shaping their overall vision for the project. Through regular workshops and brainstorming sessions, they identified pain points and potential areas for improvement within their current offerings. Based on these insights, they created wireframes and mockups that showcased new features and functionality that would enhance the user experience and drive increased adoption.



Image of Design Thinking Process
Design thinking helps identify pain points

Why can Agile development only remain Flexible basis changing requirements?

Agile development methods proved instrumental in ensuring that the project remained flexible and responsive to changing requirements. Regular sprint planning meetings allowed the team to prioritize tasks and allocate resources effectively, while daily standup meetings provided a constant flow of information about progress and any issues that needed attention.


Picture of Agile Development flow diagram
Agile development methods are resourceful and offers great flexibility

Why should your QA strategy have Automated testing and continuous integration?


Automated testing and continuous integration were essential elements of their QA strategy. Unit tests were written to verify the correctness of individual functions and modules, while integration tests verified that different pieces of the application worked together correctly. Performance testing was conducted to identify bottlenecks and optimize resource usage.

Over and above, we need Collaborative Efforts for Great products.

Throughout the course of the project, the company's leadership continuously monitored progress and adjusted plans as necessary to address emerging concerns and opportunities. Ultimately, the successful implementation of their digital transformation initiative led to significant improvements in several key areas, including speed, cost reduction, and customer satisfaction. Their ability to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to ever-changing market conditions has positioned them well for long-term success.



Picture of managers delegating work
Company's leadership continuously monitored progress to stay ahead of the curve

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