Welcome to the Product Line Engineering International Working Group!
What is Product Line Engineering?
In the world of business and marketing, a product line is a family of related products that are usually sold by the same company, are priced differently, and vary from each other in ways that are noticeable to the customer. Product lines offer the opportunity to achieve economies of scope offered by the products’ similarities. Economies of scope refers to the savings possible when the same production processes can produce multiple products more cheaply in combination than separately.
The systems and software engineering fields have embraced these concepts, creating the discipline of Product Line Engineering. In this world, a product line refers to a family of similar systems that vary from each other in features and functions. Product Line Engineering is the approach for engineering a portfolio of related products in an efficient manner, taking advantage of products’ similarities while managing their differences. Engineering includes all the activities involved in planning, producing, delivering, deploying, sustaining, and even retiring products.
A basic tenet of product line engineering is that it is extremely beneficial to consider the product line as the thing being produced, rather than the individual products. By exploiting product commonality while managing variation, engineering organizations can achieve improvements in effort, time, and quality. This enables a unified, automated approach across the entire life cycle – including engineering and operations disciplines; software, electrical, and mechanical domains; and tool ecosystems.
As PLE grew and matured, a specialized and highly efficient form emerged called Feature-based Product Line Engineering. Feature-based PLE relies on a managed set of features to describe the distinguishing characteristics that set the products in the product line apart from each other. A specialized software tool called a configurator applies the features that describe a particular product to the product line’s engineering artifacts (requirements, designs, tests, documentation, models, and so forth) and produces the artifacts specific to that product. Maintaining the shared assets for the product line, as opposed to each individual product, results in massive savings, as evidenced by numerous real-world case studies of applying the approach in some of the world’s most challenging domains and industries.
Tell me more!
Managing Variation: An Industrial Perspective on Product Line Engineering - In this video, Dr. Paul Clements introduces Product Line Engineering (PLE), various techniques that have been used for PLE, and how PLE concepts are being applied in industry today.
Feature-based Systems and Software Product Line Engineering: A Primer - This (free) booklet was developed by this working group as an introductory companion to upcoming ISO standard 26580 on Feature-based Product Line Engineering. It serves as a fantastic introduction to Feature-based PLE for Systems and it's impact on engineering assets, economic impacts, and organizational changes.
- Promote PLE (Product Line Engineering) and related SE (Systems Engineering) best practices
- Coordinate activities around PLE at INCOSE level and share results
- Help our members acquire Know‐How:
- Compare to the State‐of‐Art
- Share concerns, experiences, good practices, and traps to avoid
- Provide guidelines to set up and evolve PLE in organizations
- All types of Systems, Markets, & Organizations
- All the SE Processes (needs, requirements, architecture, integration and tests, …)
- All maturity levels of PLE, from opportunistic to completely Integrated and anticipated strategies
Our group charter is available online here.
Product Line Engineering Track
Do Product Lines Have Sweet Spots?
Andrew Pickard, Keith Harper (Rolls-Royce Corporation)
Session: 5.3.1 - Product Line Engineering
Tuesday, July 21 : 12:30-13:10
Patterns for Success in the Adoption and Execution of Feature-based Product Line Engineering: A Report from Practitioners
Susan Gregg (Lockheed Martin); David Hartley (General Dynamic Mission Systems); Morgan McAfee (General Dynamics Mission Systems); Randy Pitz (Boeing); James Teaff (Raytheon); Paul Clements (BigLever Software, Inc.)
Session: 5.3.2 - Product Line Engineering
Tuesday, July 21 : 13:15-13:55
Digital Product-Service Systems meet Product Line Systems Engineering – The Cart before the Horse?
Hugo Guillermo Chalé Gongora, Pierre-Olivier Robic (Thales); Danilo Beuche (Pure-Systems)
Session: 5.3.3 - Product Line Engineering
Tuesday, July 21 : 14:00-14:40
Applying Systems Thinking to Frame and Explore a Test System for Product Verification; a Case Study in Large Defence Projects
Rune Andre Haugen (Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace AS); Mo Mansouri (University of South-eastern Norway)
Session 1.3.3: Verification/Validation
Monday, July 20 : 11:30-12:10
Addressing Challenges of the Circular Economy using Model-Based Co-Creation and Systems Design
Jan Hendrik Roodt (Stone To Stars Ltd); Clemens Dempers (Polar Analytics Oy)
Session 2.3.2: Systems Architecture/Design Definition
Monday, July 20 13:15-13:55
Conferences focused on product families and variability subjects
VaMoS 2021: 15th International Working Conference on Variability Modelling of Software-Intensive Systems
- Dates: February 09 - 11, 2021
- Location: Krems, Austria
SAE World Congress
- Dates: 13-15 April, 2021
- Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA
BigLever Momentum 2021 Virtual Symposium
- Dates: 11-12 May, 2021
- Location: Virtual
IEEE/NDIA/INCOSE Systems Security Symposium
- Dates: 21-22 June 2021
- Location: Berlin, Germany
- Dates: July 1 – August 1, 2020 ; ?? 2021
- Location: (Virtual) Arlington, Virginia, USA
MCPC2021 : World Mass Customization & Personalization Conference
- Dates: 1-2 November, 2021
- Location: Aalborg, Denmark
ConfWS 20 : Workshop on Configuration
- Dates: 10-21 September, 2020 ; ?? 2021
- Location: (Virtual) Italy
SPLC 2021 : 25th ACM International Systems and Software Product Line Conference
23rd Annual Systems and Mission Engineering Conference
- Dates: 6-11 September, 2021
- Location: Leicester, United Kingdom
I/ITSEC 2020: The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference
- Dates: 19-22 October, 2020 ; ?? 2021
- Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
- Dates: 29 November - 3 December, 2021
- Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Our PLE group is growing fast. We invite you to join us!
Membership in the PLE IWG is open to any INCOSE member. To join the group:
- Log into your INCOSE account
- Go to your Profile Page, and scroll to the bottom left section titled "My Committees and Working Groups"
- Click the link for "Browse / Join a Working Group"
- Find the Product Lines group and click on View to see roster; the Join option is at the bottom of the page
Shared working documents, meeting minutes and presentation material are available in our CONNECT page.
Visit us at https://connect.incose.org/WorkingGroups/ProductLines/Pages/Home.aspx