Big Lever Software, Inc.

THE BIGLEVER NEWSLETTER: Special Series

The Software Product Line Lifecycle Framework: New Frontiers at Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors

Greetings from BigLever:

Welcome to the continuation of my special newsletter series on the Software Product Line (SPL) Lifecycle Framework. (To see the previous issues, visit BigLever's newsletter page.) The following is excerpted from an article that appeared in an online issue of Embedded Systems Design, Use product line engineering to reduce the total costs required to create, deploy & maintain systems & software, co-authored by James Cezo of Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems and Sensors (MS2) and myself.

“At Lockheed Martin, the timely and cost-effective delivery of the latest technological advances to our customers is mission critical. Our goal is to constantly ‘push the envelope’ in employing state-of-the-art product development tools and methods.”
– Norman Malnak, Chief Engineer & Vice President of Technical Operations, Lockheed Martin MS2

In pursuit of this core business objective, Lockheed Martin MS2 is 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.

Limitations of the Past

The emerging SPL discipline in the software industry has offered great promise for high degrees of strategic reuse within a product line portfolio of similar products. 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 Lockheed Martin 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.

Early generation SPL engineering techniques were often point solutions, focused on a single stage in the software development lifecycle, such as managing requirements or developing source code for a product line. As Lockheed Martin MS2 searched for an enhanced systems and software product line engineering approach, it was clear that the company’s Common Product Line objectives could not be solved at any one stage in the lifecycle. Nor would they be solved optimally as long as independent and disparate solutions were applied in each of the different lifecycle stages.

A more holistic approach was needed; one that was deeply integrated into and across the entire system and software engineering lifecycle.

New Frontiers with the SPL Lifecycle Framework

A recent advance in the SPL field addressed this problem – the SPL Lifecycle Framework. The role of this technology framework is to ease the integration of tools, assets and processes across the full systems and software development lifecycle. The framework provides product line engineers with a common set of SPL concepts and constructs for all of their tools and assets, at every stage of the lifecycle, and to assure that product line development traceability and processes flow cleanly from one stage of the lifecycle to another.

The SPL Lifecycle Framework provides Lockheed Martin MS2 with an end-to-end solution that utilizes a common set of SPL concepts and constructs across the lifecycle. Lockheed Martin MS2 refers to this as their Integrated Product Line Engineering (IPLE) environment. The unified approach enables inter-stage traceability and processes to flow cleanly from one lifecycle stage to the next.

This advance has opened up new frontiers for innovation in product line engineering and delivery, suitable for mainstream use throughout systems and embedded software engineering. 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.

Conclusions

For Lockheed Martin MS2, these recent advances in systems and software product line engineering have opened up new frontiers for innovation in their product line engineering and delivery.

The fundamental SPL shift in perspective allows product line engineering to be viewed as creating a single system rather than a multitude of products. The SPL Lifecycle Framework offers a consistent and integrated product line engineering solution for all tools and assets across the full systems and software development lifecycle. The incremental SPL adoption strategy offers non-disruptive and seamless transitions from current practices into a more efficient and effective SPL practice.

These pragmatic SPL engineering advances have enabled Lockheed Martin MS2 to move forward on their Common Product Line vision and are similarly being applied in diverse businesses and markets throughout the mainstream systems and embedded software engineering industry.

Want to learn more about the SPL Lifecycle Framework and how you can take advantage of this new frontier in SPL engineering? Please feel free to contact me at my e-mail address below, or send a note to info@biglever.com.

Best Regards,

Charles W. Krueger
BigLever Software CEO
SoftwareProductLines.com Moderator
ckrueger@biglever.com

 

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