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Clearing the Way for Software Product Line Success
May/June 2010 (vol. 27 no. 3)
pp. 22-28
Lawrence G. Jones, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Linda M. Northrop, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
Many organizations are attracted to the well-documented benefits of a software product line approach. However, many would-be adoptors encounter difficulty in implementation. We share insights based on 15 years of experience collaborating with a large number of organizations and using our diagnostic, the Software Engineering Institute's Product Line Technical Probe. We've examined a variety of government and commercial organizations, ranging in size from less than 50 people to global corporations. Based on these results, we characterize two strategic pitfalls that repeatedly occur: failure to recognize that a software product line approach is a business and technical strategy, and failure to manage the unique aspects of governance for a product line and roll it out appropriately. We provide a set of diagnostic questions and remedies for problems related to these failures. We also provide additional downfalls that tend to occur in either engineering-based or developer-focused organizations.

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Index Terms:
software product lines, software product line adoption
Lawrence G. Jones, Linda M. Northrop, "Clearing the Way for Software Product Line Success," IEEE Software, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 22-28, May-June 2010, doi:10.1109/MS.2010.71
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