Integrated Variant Management: Insights, Challenges and Concepts

Universität Ulm

PhD Seminar, Christian Manz, Room: O27/545, Time: 04:00 pm, Date: June 7, 2013

In the automotive domain, customer expectations (e.g., product individualization, product performance) lead to an increasing number of product variants. Global commercialization of products and homologation constraints (e.g., due to market specific laws) are additional factors introducing product variability. In current practice, this product variability is often enabled by electric/electronic components and corresponding software. In this context, software product lines (SPL) are characterized by a planned and systematic reuse of software artifacts, used in different circumstances (e.g., different vehicles, markets). Variant traceability in SPL is crucial in the context of different tasks, like change impact analysis, especially in complex global software projects. In addition, traceability concepts must be extended by partly automated variant configuration mechanisms to handle restrictions and dependencies between variants. Such variant configuration mechanism helps to reduce complexity when configuring a valid variant and to establish an explicit documentation of dependencies between components.

However, integrated variant management has not been sufficiently addressed so far. Especially, the increasing number of software variants requires an examination of traceable and configurable software variants over the software lifecycle. The presentation emphasizes product variant traceability achievements in a large global software engineering project, elaborates existing challenges, and evaluates an industrial usage of an integrated variant management based on experiences. Furthermore, variants of the same process (e.g. business or development processes) have to be handled increasingly. Thereby, an interaction between process variants and product variance can be identified. Also, the presentation discusses first thoughts in product and process variant interactions