Commonality Analysis: Implications over a Successful Product Line

Commonality Analysis: Implications over a Successful Product Line

Sathya Ganeshan (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK) and Muthu Ramachandran (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-731-7.ch020


The success of initiating a software product line based approach on an organization depends on a few critical factors. Among them is a thoroughly performed commonality analysis process. This can be imagined as a collecting the supplies and road map required to reach a particular destination. This chapter analyses this critical process and presents our own views and methods of conducting commonality analysis.
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First Step Towards Product Line: The Commonality Analysis

Commonality analysis is a sort of confidence building measure to first and foremost find out if it is worth the trouble of building a family of products.

Figure 1 shows the list of outcomes which could be used to decide if venturing into SPL approach for a given product within the selected domain could be feasible or not. If all the intended family products share many things in common such as architecture, code, test cases, components etc as shown in figure 1, then it can be said with confidence that SPL approach is worth a try. Following are some of the questions for which a clear answer is required before beginning to apply SPL methods for the given project.

Figure 1.

Justification for applying SPL through commonality analysis

  • Are there enough common characteristics present among the intended family of products so that its worthwhile employing SPL approach?

  • Is it technically feasible to create a family of products given the constraints and requirements expected off the resulting family of products?

  • Would the organisation be ready to bare the cost during the initial periods and accept the change in streamlining the organisation that SPL approach requires?

  • Are the application engineers well versed with the technical knowledge about the domain and products which is a compulsory necessity required for such an endeavour?

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