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Investment Analysis of Software Assets for Product Lines

November 1996 Technical Report
James Withey

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


Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number



Group, product line, and program managers are faced with of allocating resources to projects. Should all resources be dedicated to meet near-term deliverables? Or should some be siphoned off to build software assets that may improve quality, flexibility, and reduce cost and time-to-market of future products in the product line? These managers also have to determine which assets to buy or build. The choices are many, ranging from reusable code components to design models to application generators, and each has a different risk and cash flow profile. 

This report introduces an approach that will help managers make these allocation decisions. The report outlines a planning and communication tool for analyzing investments in software assets for product lines.  

Although the report is not a guidebook, the concepts, criteria, and investment modeling techniques will be useful in making and justifying proposals for funding. The concepts are drawn from the fields of microeconomics, corporate finance, marketing, R&D technology management, and software reuse.