Use product line engineering to reduce the total costs required to create, deploy & maintain systems & software

James Cezo, Lockheed Martin and Charles Krueger, PhD, BigLever Software

December 10, 2008

James Cezo, Lockheed Martin and Charles Krueger, PhD, BigLever SoftwareDecember 10, 2008

At Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors (LM MS2) - in pursuit of a core business objective of timely and cost-effective delivery of the latest in technological advances to our customers - we are finalizing a multi-year initiative to identify, evaluate and implement a leading-edge Common Product Line reuse strategy to streamline systems and software engineering in each of its core product lines.

The driving goal is to satisfy strong customer demand to reduce the time, cost and effort required to create, deploy and maintain products. To achieve this goal, the ultimate solution must minimize duplicate effort, maximize commonality among design and implementation assets, and optimize reuse of effort across similar products within each of its product lines.

An emerging discipline in the software industry has offered great promise for high degrees of strategic reuse within a software product line portfolio of similar products. This approach is referred to as Software Product Line (SPL) engineering.

Until recently, the state-of-the art for traditional development tools, conventional software reuse, and early generation SPL engineering approaches did not enable the advanced capabilities desired by LM MS2, where the objective is to enable strategic reuse of engineering assets across the entire systems and embedded software development lifecycle " spanning requirements, architecture, design, source code, documentation and test artifacts.

However, this situation has dramatically improved within recent months through a combination of three key advances in the SPL field.

1. A fundamental shift in perspective offers a simpler solution to a traditionally difficult problem. Analogous to engineering a product line of hard goods, it is simpler to take a broader perspective that views product line engineering as creating a single system " including the manufacturing production line " rather than viewing product line engineering as creating a multitude of products.

2. A SPL engineering lifecycle framework offers a consistent and integrated SPL solution for all system and software tools and for the reuse of all systems and software assets, across the entire product development and maintenance lifecycle. This is simpler and much more effective than traditional development approaches and early generation SPL methods that resulted in disparate and "silo'ed" solutions for each stage of the product development lifecycle.

3. A methodology for incremental SPL adoption offers non-disruptive techniques for seamlessly transitioning from current practices into a more efficient and effective SPL practice. This minimally invasive strategy overcomes barriers associated with the early generation "big bang" SPL approaches that required large-scale, upfront re-engineering.

Collectively, these advances have opened up new frontiers for innovation in product line engineering and delivery, suitable for mainstream use throughout the systems and embedded software engineering industry.

This broader lifecycle-wide approach for applying systematic and strategic reuse methods has uniformly extended the concepts pioneered in SPLs, spanning from the earliest stages of systems engineering all the way through the final stages of test engineering and product delivery. By leveraging this advanced yet pragmatic engineering approach, LM MS2 is moving forward with its Common Product Line vision.

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