Configuration Management and Product Line Engineering

Configuration Management (CM) tools and techniques tend to focus on managing individual products. However, most engineering organizations today must create and maintain a product line – a portfolio of similar products with variations in features and functions – rather than an individual product.

CM for a product line portfolio is a multi-dimensional problem. In addition to the conventional problem of managing the evolution of systems and software assets over time, product lines introduce the additional problem of managing variation within the application domain space of the product line.

Thus, we have a CM problem in both time and space:

  • Variation in time – managing asset evolution, or multi-baseline management.
  • Variation in space – managing diversity within assets and products in the product line, or multi-product management.

To achieve a complete PLE solution, there is an equally important third dimension that must also be addressed:

  • Variation in the lifecycle achieving consistency and managing traceability among asset variations in different lifecycle stages, i.e., multi-phase management.

A holistic, end-to-end solution requires the simultaneous management of product line commonality and variability in all three dimensions – multi-product, multi-phase, and multi-baseline.

The Integration of CM and PLE Technologies

By combining the multi-baseline management capabilities provided by CM with the multi-product and multi-phase management capabilities provided by PLE, organizations can create a complete solution that effectively manages product line commonality and variability in all three dimensions of time, space, and lifecycle.

BigLever enables the integration of CM and PLE technologies via the Gears Universal Configuration Management Bridge™. With the Gears CM Bridge, CM systems can connect directly with the Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework, enabling CM operations to be well-orchestrated and synchronized as the product line evolves.

For more information, see the following resources:

>> Data Sheet: Gears Universal Configuration Management Bridge
>> White Paper: The Systems and Software Product Line Engineering Lifecycle Framework


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