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

Product Line Action Planning Workshop

The Product Line Action Planning Workshop is a natural follow-on to the Product Line Technical Probe. The probe produces a portrayal of the state of an organization's product line practices. The planning workshop helps translate that portrayal into a plan of action. The workshop is a tailored, facilitated work session in which an SEI team works with a customer team, typically over two days, to produce their action plan. While the workshop is an ideal follow-on to a probe, depending on an organization's circumstances, a probe may not always be a prerequisite.

As a result of this workshop, participants will come away with

  • a skeleton strategic product line plan and actions necessary to complete the plan
  • knowledge of a repeatable planning process that can become a permanent organizational asset


Successful product line initiation or improvement requires careful planning. Whether your organization is considering a software product line approach or already has started one, you need to answer these questions:

  • What product line practices should we institute or improve?
  • How should we go about this?
  • In what order?


The Product Line Action Planning Workshop helps insure that an organization is able to avoid the expense and frustration of false starts with their product line approach. A good action plan is essential if the organization is to achieve product line success and derive the benefits envisioned in their business goals

Who Would Benefit

This workshop is appropriate for those who are directly responsible for planning and implementing the product line approach. This could include senior software managers, software product line managers, software product or project managers, technical leads, and process action teams.

This workshop is applicable whether an organization:

  • is embarking on a new software product line effort, or
  • is improving or expanding an existing software product line effort

Examples of Use

We have years of experience applying the principles of the Product Line Action Planning Workshop in many contexts. Many of our customers have adopted the process for their own use in planning all sorts of technology and organizational improvement efforts. In this workshop we have tailored our general planning approach specifically to address product line issues.


There can be several versions of the workshop depending on customer needs.

  • The basic workshop lasts approximately two days. The workshop structure includes tailored instruction on product line plans and facilitated construction of a skeleton strategic product line plan.
  • An additional session may be conducted to refine the skeleton plan into a draft plan.
  • Additional sessions may be conducted to develop tactical plans to enact the strategic plan.

While the exact contents of the basic workshop are tailored to the organization, the workshop generally includes these topics:

  • Workshop context and approach
  • Planning principles to be used
  • The bulk of the workshop consists of facilitated work sessions to develop the following
    • Product line vision
    • Current state and goals (desired future state)
    • Barriers and enablers to the goals
    • Strategies to achieve the goals
    • Objectives to measure progress
    • Approach (detailed activities to execute the strategies)


SEI staff will work with a customer team to plan and conduct the workshop and any follow-on activities. Contact us using the link in the For more information box at the bottom of this page.

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