Cradle Modules – PDM

The Cradle PDM module provides the infrastructure for all other Cradle modules. Its scalability and flexibility create an industrial strength, proven, shared data environment for even the largest projects:

Cradle PDM Module
Cradle PDM Module


Cradle supports any number of databases, each with its own schema, CM system and users. Each database supports many projects. Use the Project Manager tool to organise this environment by user-defined criteria, for example as hierarchies.

Each database stores any number of items, of any number of types (requirements, risks, classes, user stories, functions) defined by a UI. Items have any number of attributes, each of a user-defined type, that manage up to 1 TByte of any type of data, held in Cradle, or referenced in external files, URLs or another tool or environment.


User-defined calculations are supported in all parts of Cradle and can be displayed as graphs, in views and user-defined reports. User-defined rules can be applied to automatically set attribute values or perform calculations, to maintain the integrity within and between items.

Cross References

Items can be cross referenced, with optional user-defined link types and groups. Links have user-defined attributes to justify, parametrise, explain or characterise them. You control which links are used to navigate or report traceability, based on link type or group, direction and link attribute values. Links are both direct and indirect, for full lifecycle traceability, impact and coverage analyses.

Process Tailored Environment

You use start pages and a phase hierarchy to build an environment tailored to your process. End users only need to be trained in your interface, reducing training time and costs:

  • Start pages are text and graphics controls that perform your choice of operations simply and easily
  • The phase hierarchy shows the process as a hierarchy in which an agile or phase activity, task, sprint, report or document is run by a mouse click. Different parts of the phase hierarchy can be shown to each user or stakeholder group.

Traceability and coverage views are available as trees, nested and pivot tables, matrices and Hierarchy Diagrams. Unique transitive links give traceability across the full system lifecycle.

Configuration Management

Items evolve through versions that are managed in baselines and controlled by a built-in CM system, with mechanisms for review, baseline and version control, full change control, and audit trails.

Cradle can track all changes. Edits can be reversed selectively or by group. Items can be compared across edits and in baselines. Edits can raise alerts to users, and mark related items as suspect. All edits are permanently available, for change logs.


Cradle provides adaptations to allow variants of items. This mechanism is ideal for databases that contain a library of standard items and projects that use the library, and contribute to it.

Access Controls

Access controls apply to all items based on user roles, privileges, security clearances and skills. Users can be grouped in a hierarchy of teams, to create any access control scheme, such as for customers, subcontractors and IV&V. The creation and manipulation of links can be controlled, by item or user.

Cradle is multi-user. It locks information at item level, with automatic database commit after an edit. This maximises users’ interaction with the database and guarantees all data s up-to-date.


Cradle’s alert mechanism sends messages by email (SMTP or IMAP), Cradle or both. Alerts can be selectively enabled and disabled. Alerts track events on items, including edit, review and formal change.


The Cradle discussion mechanism allows even read-only users to add comments to items. Four other commenting mechanisms are provided.

Project Planning

Cradle can manage project plans and WBS. User task lists are maintained. WBS structures and progress data can be exchanged bidirectionally with external PM tools. Cradle can generate burn-down and earned-value graphs on any user-defined criterion to monitor progress.


Cradle is open and extensible. It provides multiple import/export formats, an API, a user-definable event-driven command interface, interfaces with other tools and bidirectional interfaces to Microsoft Office.

Query and Report Data

Cradle provides uniquely powerful data query and visualisation facilities. Each user’s environment can be tailored by defining custom queries, views, forms, navigations, matrices, reports and other facilities. All customisations have a scope, to be specific to the end user, or shared with other users of the same type (such as all customers or all managers), the user’s team, the entire project, or all projects.

Any desired compliance, coverage or traceability report can be created quickly/easily using Cradle’s queries, multi-row views/nested table view, and saved for later use.


Cradle has floating, dynamic licensing and low cost read-only users. Open and named user licences are available. Everything described here is free of charge.

Licences, databases and schemas are interchangeable across Linux and Windows 8.1, 10, 11, Server 2012 R2, 2016 and 2019.

Optional support for Oracle and MySQL.

Feature Summary

Feature Summary - PDM
Feature Summary – PDM

Please contact 3SL for further information about Cradle PDM licences.

Discussions in Cradle

What is a Discussion?

A discussion is a hierarchy of comments for an item. The discussions in Cradle concept is similar to email threads:

  • Every item can have arbitrarily many, arbitrarily large, discussions
  • Each discussion has a hierarchy of 1 or more comments
  • Each discussion can have a decision

People can contribute to a discussion.

The discussions mechanism is very powerful. We suggest it can be used:

  • To record discussions as part of formulating requirements and other items in the database
  • As a change proposal system
  • As an informal CM system

Contents of a Discussion

A discussion contains:

  1. A decision – this applies to the entire discussion  containing a status with a value of Open, Agreed, Rejected or Suspended, a reason which is a short summary of why the decision was reached, the Cradle username of the person who recorded the decision and the date and time that the decision was made
  2. A hierarchy of comments, each comment containing a subject, a block of text that constitutes the comment, the Cradle username of the person who created the comment and the date and time that the comment was created

Creating Discussions

When created your new discussion, its decision is set to Open. You can respond to a comment by adding a new comment that is then attached to the existing comment. The same user or another user could respond to either of these comments. Therefore creating a hierarchy of comments.

Please note that comments cannot be changed once committed.

Discussions dialog showing multiple comments
Discussions Dialog in WorkBench

Querying and Reporting on Discussions

Discussions can be reported and included in documents. You can also search the database for items based on their discussions, for example:

  • Discussions where you have made a comment
  • Discussions where comments have been made in the past week
  • Where you need to make a decision on a discussion

For further information on discussions in Cradle’s WorkBench click here. If you would like to see how to work with discussions in Web Access click here.

Show Me the Item to Review

Opening a Review Item

When you have items to review in Cradle you are presented with a list. Your review process is meant to be more than just a tick box exercise. You’ll want to see the item to review. Selecting an item from the list will give a summary of the current review status in the bottom of the dialog. Clicking the ‘View’ button will open the item in a form so its full details can be seen.

Shows how to open an item to review from a list of items
Open a Review Item

Approve or Reject

The next stage is to Approve or Reject the item. When the ‘Approve’ or ‘Reject’ buttons are pressed users are given an option to add a review comment. Your project can also be set to enforce comments, see Mandatory Comments in the project Miscellaneous section. If there are a number of reviewers, and possibly a review acceptance meeting, it is possible to change this decision up to the point that the item is Registered. That means there is no problem if you initially reject something, but after clarification need to alter your decision to approve, or visa-versa.

More Detailed Comments

Whilst each Cradle item is ideally fairly atomic, a requirement that  says ‘shall do this and this and this’, is much harder to verify or alter,  some can be quite complex. A single comment as a reason to reject an item may not be enough, it may also be that you would welcome further debate from the other reviewers. Discussions can be used to add annotations to an item and can build a conversation trail.

Using discussions to add complex review comments
Complex Review Comments as Discussions