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Product Architecture Specification

A product architecture specification is a document that formalizes and captures the system design of a design intervention.

What is a product architecture specification?

A product architecture specification (PAS) is a document that summarizes and formalizes the systems design of a single level of the system hierarchy of a product. It includes the description of a single system as a collection of:

  1. its boundary,
  2. its inputs and outputs,
  3. the subsystems that it contains, and
  4. the interfaces that connects its inputs to its outputs as they pass through its subsystems.

An “architecture” in engineering is a functional description of the transformations that a product applies to its inputs to create its outputs. As a step on the way to a full design, the architecture represents the most detailed description of each level of the system hierarchy before designers start giving form to the product itself.

Architectures are important for managing complexity because they allow one to partition functionality of a given system into functional “chunks” (subsystems) with well-understood interactions (system interfaces). This allows individual engineers to focus on specific functionality, knowing that there already exists a “map” to integrate that specific functionality back into a useful whole (the product).

One example of how a product architecture can benefit understanding how systems work and how to create modular designs is in the design of the Orlando International Airport.

How are product architecture specifications developed?

The steps to create a PAS, per the design roadmap are:

  1. identify product system
  2. identify subsystems
  3. prepare a PAS
2016.08.01 19:41 · Fil Salustri


A properly constructed PAS includes:

  • A system identification matrix, including a short justification for each system's existence with respect to the FRs it embodies.
  • A properly drawn system diagram.
  • A specification of all the system interfaces in the system diagram. Each interface must be properly quantified and justified with respect to requirements.
  • An (optional) commentary highlighting any particularly noteworthy aspects of the system design of your product.

The use of extended point form is encouraged in this stage of the design.

design/product_architecture_specification.txt · Last modified: 2021.05.27 16:15 by Fil Salustri