Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Software Product Lines

A software product line epitomizes strategic, planned reuse. More than a new technology, it is a new way of doing business that can yield order-of-magnitude improvements in time to market, cost, and quality.


the latest information about successful software product line practicesA software product line (SPL) is a set of software-intensive systems that share a common, managed set of features satisfying the specific needs of a particular market segment or mission and that are developed from a common set of core assets in a prescribed way.

Software product lines are emerging as a viable and important development paradigm allowing companies to realize order-of-magnitude improvements in time to market, cost, productivity, quality, and other business drivers. Software product line engineering can also enable rapid market entry and flexible response, and provide a capability for mass customization. 

We are working to make software product line practice a dependable low-risk high-payoff practice that combines the necessary business and technical approaches to achieve success. If you would like to gain expertise in these practices, see training in product lines.


Product lines can help organizations overcome the problems caused by resource shortages. Organizations of all types and sizes have discovered that a product line strategy, when skillfully implemented, can produce many benefits—and ultimately give the organizations a competitive edge.  Example organizational benefits include:

  • Improved productivity by as much as 10x
  • Increased quality by as much as 10x
  • Decreased cost by as much as 60%
  • Decreased labor needs by as much as 87%
  • Decreased time to market (to field, to launch) by as much as 98%
  • Ability to move into new markets in months, not years

Learn More

  • Learn why product lines are needed.
  • Get started in product lines.
  • Read a history of the SEI's research in software product lines.
  • Read about case studies and product lines that made it to the Hall of Fame.
  • Increase your knowledge of product lines through training.