An integrated product data environment for system design and optimization, e.g., a Collaborative Engineering Environment (CEE). The CEE provides a multi-disciplinary engineering team with immediate access to all relevant product information. It is an enterprise system at the program as well as the company levels, managing product information as a program and corporate asset. Product-centric collaborative capabilities for the CEE are provided by extending the functionality of a commercial Product Data Management (PDM) System. Emerging web-centric commercial-off-tho-shelf (COTS) PDM capabilities, object-oriented technologies, associated rapid application development environments, sophisticated engineering toolsets, and COTS computing and communications technologies have been leveraged to establish the CEE for the complex electronic systems integration domain. The CEE offers substantial improvements in productivity, cost savings, cycle time reductions, product integrity and lifetime support of a system.