Software Product Lines
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A Framework for Software Product Line Practice, Version 5.0

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Purpose

The goals of this framework are

As such, this framework can serve as the basis for a technology and improvement plan aimed at achieving product line development goals.

Every organization is different and comes to the product line approach with different goals, missions, assets, and requirements. Practices for a product line builder will be different from those for a product line acquirer, and different still for a component or service vendor. Appropriate practices will also vary according to

There is no one correct set of practices for every organization; hence, we do not prescribe a methodology consisting of a set of specific practices. The framework is not a maturity model1 or a process guide. We are prescriptive about the practice areas and prescribe that organizations adopt appropriate practices in each practice area. This document contains practices that we have seen work successfully.

This framework has been used by organizations, large and small, to help them plan to adopt a product line approach, as well as to help them gauge how they're doing and in what areas they're falling short. We use it to guide our collaborations with customers and to focus in on the areas where our collaboration will best assist our customers. We also use it as the basis for conducting an SEI Product Line Technical Probe (PLTP)–formal diagnostics of an organization's product line fitness [Clements 2002c, Ch. 8; SEI 2007e]. The framework is a living, growing document that represents our best picture of sound product line practice as described to us by its many users and reviewers–all of whom are practitioners. The framework has served successfully as the basis for technology and improvement plans that achieve product line goals.

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1 For a discussion of the relationship between Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) and this framework, see the work of Jones and Soule [Jones 2002a].