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

Case Studies

Software Product Line Practice Framework GraphicMore and more organizations are turning to software product lines as a solution to their time-to-market, productivity, flexibility, and mass customization needs. Hewlett-Packard, Cummins, Inc., General Motors, CelsiusTech, Rockwell-Collins, Motorola, Philips, Nokia, Boeing, Raytheon, and Salion, Inc., have taken a product line approach for their software, exploited the commonality among similar systems, and experienced cost and schedule improvements and decreased technical risk.

For example

  • Cummins, Inc., was able to field more than 1000 separate products based on just 20 software builds. They can build and integrate the software for a new diesel engine in about a week, whereas before, it took a year. Their production capability allowed them to quickly enter and dominate the industrial diesel engine market.

  • The U.S. National Reconnaissance Office commissioned a software product line of satellite ground control systems from Raytheon and enjoyed a 10x quality improvement and a 7x productivity improvement as a result.

  • CelsiusTech Systems was able to decrease their software staff from 210 to around 30, while turning out more, larger, and more complex ship command and control system products. The product line approach let them change the hardware-to-software ratio for their systems from 35:65 to 80:20.

  • Nokia was able to increase their production of mobile phones from 5 to 10 new models per year to over 30 new models per year.

  • Hewlett Packard reported a 400% productivity improvement and a 2-7x time-to-market improvement for a product line of printers.

  • Motorola saw a 4x cycle-time improvement in its product line of pagers.

SEI Case Studies

The SEI has written a number of comprehensive case studies that relate how the following organizations have adopted and succeeded with software product line engineering:

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC)

U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)

U.S. Army Technical Applications Program Office (TAPO)

CelsiusTech Systems AB

Salion, Inc.

Related Reading

Product Lines Training and Publications