search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

Software Product Lines Collection

This collection includes two decades of SEI work on software product lines.


Software Engineering Institute

A software product line 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. 


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
  • Increased quality
  • Decreased cost
  • Decreased labor needs
  • Decreased time to market
  • Ability to move into new markets in months, not years

This collection includes two decades of SEI work on software product lines.

A Framework for Software Product Line Practice, Version 5.0

December 2012

This document describes the activities and practices in which an organization must be competent before it can benefit from fielding a product line of software systems.

The Arcade Game Maker Pedagogical Product Line

January 2009

The Arcade Game Maker product line is an example product line created to support learning about and experimenting with software product lines in the classroom.

A Case Study in Successful Product Line Development

October 1996

This report describes the experience of a company that builds large, complex, embedded, real-time shipboard command-and-control systems as a product line.

An Approach to Software Product Line Acquisition Planning

February 2009

Presented at the SEI Army Software Product Line Workshop, February 12, 2009.

A Product Line Architecture for Army Aviation Diagnostics and Maintenance: Views and Evolution (SATURN 2007)

May 2007

This presentation was given at the 2007 SATURN workshop, held in Pittsburgh.

A Study of Product Production in Software Product Lines

March 2004

This 2004 report presents the results of a study that focused on how product line organizations create products.

Architecture Reconstruction to Support a Product Line Effort: Case Study

July 2001

This report describes the architecture reconstruction process that was followed when the SEI performed architecture reconstructions on three small automotive motor systems.

A Software Product Line Vision for Defense Acquisition

June 2002

This report presents a vision for software product lines as an acquisition focus and suggests extensions to current Department of Defense policy and practices to increase the awareness of and receptivity to product line acquisition.

Basic Concepts of Product Line Practice for the DoD

February 2000

This 2000 report provides background information to inform other reports in an SEI-published series of reports designed to provide concise and usable information about product line acquisition practices.

Bottom-Up Software Product Line Design A Case Study Emphasizing the Need for Stakeholder Commitment (SATURN 2009)

April 2009

This 2009 presentation describes a software product line architecture (PLA) intended to increase reuse while ensuring faster time to market for new applications within the robotics domain.

Business Process Lines to Develop Service-Oriented Architectures through the Software Product Lines paradigm

September 2008

This presentation on business process lines to service-oriented architecture through the software product lines paradigm was delivered by five members of the University of Bari in 2008.

Case Study: A Measurement Program for Product Lines

May 2004

This report documents NUWC's approach for measurement by describing the Goal-Driven Software Measurement approach and providing early results of the measurement program.

Case Study: Building and Communicating a Business Case for a DoD Product Line

April 2001

This case study describes a DoD weapon system development effort and compares the current way of developing software systems to the product line approach.

Combined Reuse: Product Line Engineering Meets Service-Oriented Architecture

May 2012

A presentation from the Large Scale track at SATURN 2012, May 7-11, 2012, St Petersburg, FL.

Combining Product Line Engineering and Service Oriented Architecture in Health Care Infrastructure Systems: Experience Report

September 2008

This 2008 presentation was delivered by Jörg Bartholdt, Bernd Franke, C. Schwanninger, and Michael Stal of Siemens AG.

Control Channel Toolkit: A Software Product Line Case Study

October 2001

This 2001 report is a case study of the Control Channel Toolkit (CCT), a software asset base for a software product line of ground-based spacecraft command and control systems built under the direction of the NRO.

Developing a Product Line Acquisition Strategy for a DoD Organization: A Case Study

April 2001

This 2001 report describes the approach a DoD organization used to develop alternative acquisition strategies and analyzes the pros and cons of each.

Exploring Acquisition Strategies for Adopting a Software Product Line

August 2010

Some basics of software product line practice, the challenges that make product line acquisition unique, and three basic acquisition strategies are all part of this white paper.

Formulation of a Production Strategy for a Software Product Line

August 2009

This 2009 report describes a technique for formulating the production strategy of a production system.

From Projects to Product Lines: A Product Line Economics Case Study

January 2003

This presentation provides an overview of the SCAMPI appraisal method.

Guidelines for Developing a Product Line Concept of Operations

August 1999

This 1999 report provides guidelines for an organization that is developing a CONOPS document.

Guidelines for Developing a Product Line Production Plan

June 2002

This 2002 technical report provides guidance for creating, using, and evaluating a production plan, which is a description of how core assets are to be used to develop a product in a product line.

Guidelines for Using OAR Concepts in a DoD Product Line Acquisition Environment

March 2000

This 2000 report provides guidance for DoD organizations for mining legacy systems to obtain core assets that will fit into a previously defined software architecture for a product line.

Introduction to Software Product Lines

November 2014

This TSP Symposium 2014 presentation introduces software product line development, essential activities and underlying practices, and costs and benefits of adoption.

Introduction to Software Product Line Adoption

September 2005

In this 2005 presentation, Linda M. Northrop of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) provides an introduction to software product line acquisition.

Investment Analysis of Software Assets for Product Lines

November 1996

This 1996 report introduces an approach that will help managers make resource allocation decisions.

Managing Variation in Services in a Software Product Line Context

May 2010

This report highlights the mutual benefits of combining systematic reuse approaches from product line development with flexible approaches for implementing business processes in a service oriented architecture.

MAP and OAR Methods: Techniques for Developing Core Assets for Software Product Lines from Existing Assets

April 2002

This 2002 report describes the MAP and OAR methods, the activities that each involves, and examples of applying them.

Measures for Software Product Lines

October 2003

This 2003 report characterizes the status of measurement associated with the operation of a software product line, suggests a small set of measures to support its management, and provides guidance for those establishing measurement activities within a software product line.

Mining Existing Assets for Software Product Lines

May 2000

This 2000 report outlines four basic steps that are required to successfully mine assets.

On-Demand Generation of Views to Support Online Evolution of Software Product Lines

May 2011

This presentation from SATURN 2011 codifies the the architecture knowledge required for evoloving products in a given viewpoint.

Overview of a Proactive Software Product Line Acquisition Approach

February 2009

Presented at the SEI Army Software Product Line Workshop, February 12, 2009

Preparing for Automated Derivation of Products in a Software Product Line

September 2005

This 2005 report provides an end-to-end view of the activities that are needed to support the automatic derivation of products within a software product line.

Product Line Acquisition in the DoD: The Promise, The Challenges

December 1999

This 1999 paper presents the basics of product line practices and reports the results of two DoD product line workshops in which important issues and successful practices were shared.

Product Line Acquisition in a DoD Organizational Guidance for Decision Makers

March 2006

This 2006 report chronicles the decisions a program manager might face in considering the adoption of a product line approach.

SEI Product Line Bibliography

December 2012

This bibliography lists SEI and non-SEI resources that have informed the SEI Product Lines efforts. Examples cover diverse domains and show the kind of improvements you can achieve using a product line approach.

SEI Software Product Line Diagnostics

March 2010

Three diagnostic tools for understanding an organization's readiness for and initial approach to software product lines

Software Product Line Adoption Roadmap

September 2004

This 2004 report introduces a variant of the Factory Pattern called the Adoption Factory pattern that provides a generic roadmap to guide a manageable, phased product line adoption strategy.

Software Product Line Essentials

July 2008

This presentation introduces the concept of strategic, planned reuse and a new way of conducting one's software business.

Software Product Lines in Acquisition

January 2003

This 2003 presentation on Software Product Lines in Acquisition was delivered by Grady Campbell of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in January 2003.

Software Product Lines: Practices and Patterns

August 2001

This book provides a framework of specific practices, with detailed case studies, to guide the implementation of product lines in your organization.

Software Product Lines: Reuse That Makes Business Sense

April 2006

This presentation on Software Product Lines: Reuse That Makes Business Sense was delivered by Linda M. Northrop of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in April 2006.

Testing a Software Product Line

December 2001

This report expands on the testing practice area described by Clements and Northrop. Test-related activities that can be used to form the test process for a product line organization are described.

The DoD Acquisition Environment and Software Product Lines

May 1999

This technical note examines three key DoD acquisition policies and regulations, along with their implications for launching a product line.

The U.S. Army's Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) Product Line: A Case Study

September 2005

This report offers a case study of organizations that have adopted a software product line approach for developing a family of software-intensive systems.

Variability in Software Product Lines

September 2005

This 2005 report describes the concepts needed when creating core assets with included variability. These concepts provide guidelines to core asset creators on how to model the variability explicitly, so it is handled consistently throughout the product line and managing the variability becomes feasible.