Long a standard practice in traditional manufacturing, the concept of product lines is relatively new to the software industry. A software product line is a family of systems that share a common set of core technical assets, with preplanned extensions and variations to address the needs of specific customers or market segments. Software organizations of all types and sizes are discovering that when skillfully implemented, a product line strategy can yield enormous gains in productivity, quality, and time-to-market. Software Product Lines is the culmination of an intensive investigation, undertaken by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon, into how leading-edge software development organizations have retooled for product lines. With explanations of fundamental concepts further illuminated by real-world experience, this book spells out the technical issues involved in adopting a product line strategy, as well as the organizational and management issues that are so critical for success. In providing a comprehensive set of practices and patterns, this book defines and explores the key activities for software product line development and explains specific practice areas in engineering, technical management, and organizational management.