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.

Simplifying your WorkBench Environment

WorkBench is an extremely flexible and customisable tool which can then result in user complexity as it provides such a wide range of displays and outputs for your project data:

  • MANY definition files to show queries and views of how you want to see your data
  • MANY types of reports and documents tailored for your required outputs
  • Different outputs/views of the project required at particular stages

With so many features available to users, it is important to understand how we can manage to reduce the complexity of the tool for them by using the Phase Hierarchy and/or Start Pages:

WorkBench Environment
Simplifying your WorkBench environment

We can reduce tool complexity by the use of the Phase Hierarchy and/or Start Pages.

Phase Hierarchy

The phase hierarchy is an order of elements that can be grouped together under different folders to describe the process or project lifecycle of your project. You can think of these as phases, activities or tasks.

Creating a phase hierarchy is the task of a Project Administrator who needs PROJECT privilege and is created in Project Setup.

Each element of a phase can run an operation in an organised structure which is shown by expanding folders such as:

  • Running saved queries
  • Opening an item/set of items
  • Expanding a tree
  • Running a matrix
  • Running a metric
  • Producing a report
  • Producing a graph
  • Producing a draft document (Document Publisher)
  • Executing an external command
Phase Hierarchy
Defined Phase Hierarchy

These phase operations are for all users of the project. However, you can restrict operations to a particular team or a particular skill:

Phase hierarchy showing skill
Phase hierarchy showing skill

The phase hierarchy is also used in the Web Access tool.

Please note that the phase hierarchy feature is not available in single-user products.

Start Pages

Whereas a phase hierarchy defines the whole process and the activities to be performed, start pages could help to automate the steps to perform each activity for a particular user or set of users.

Start pages also allow you to open a specific WorkBench dialog or run a tool such as Document Loader that will simplify usage considerably as your users would have all relevant operations in an organised page without having to navigate through all of the menus, ribbons and dialogs.

These are organised in:

  • Labels
  • Headings
  • Actions / multiple actions

You can also add images to your start page which can be very useful in customising the interface for your project:

Start page
Example Start Page

Start pages can also allow you to run multiple operations with a single click.

You can define multiple start pages for a specific set of tasks and for multiple sets of users.

Start Page Details option
Start Page Details option


The phase hierarchy and start pages allow you to simplify the user experience of WorkBench.

The phase hierarchy defines a set of operations in folders which can be filtered for specific sets of users. This feature is not available in single-user products.

Start pages can be more personal and will quickly allow you to complete a task or create an output without having to navigate the WorkBench menu, ribbons and dialogs and saved definition files.


Can I customise UI to show my most used commands?

Easy Customisation Using Cradle Start-Pages

Yes you can customise the front end UI shown to users.  The simplest way to  customise most used commands, is add them to a Start Page. The example below places a company logo, and the three most used queries on the start page. These are considered the most used actions by the company and therefore, they want them easily accessible when the tool starts. The links are customised to run the specific queries needed most.

Additionally an “Admin” section has been added to get at the User Preferences and Project Schema Setup. This could normally be shown collapsed or ‘rolled up’ as this is less frequently used.

Screen shot of a Cradle-RM Desktop edition with customised start page
Customised Start Page

This is the most basic of examples, set so everyone in the project sees the same page when they start up. However, in large teams, start pages can be customised to the Cradle user, personal, team or user type. The selection of page is set in the User Preferences.

Project Phases

In an enterprise environment the company process may be more tightly defined. Customisation of the flow through the project lifecycle would be better represented as groups of actions in the Phase sidebar.

Cradle 7.4 Start Page Enhancement

It is now possible to copy panels and entries and to refresh your list of queries.

When you insert an entry into a start page, the newly created entry is created beneath the selected one, rather than at the bottom of the list. You also have the option to copy start page panels and start page entries.

When creating start pages, it is possible to add queries. If you found there was a query missing that you needed, and you or a colleague created it, it is not automatically added to the cached list in the start page setup. Clicking the  Refresh icon will now relist all the available queries.

Start Page query refresh
Query list refresh button

For more information on Start Pages click here

Updated 09/08/2018 – Cradle 7.4 Enhancement