Big Lever Software, Inc.

BIGLEVER NEWSLETTER: Introductory Series

The 3-Tiered SPL Methodology in Practice

Greetings from BigLever:

Welcome to the conclusion of BigLever's introductory newsletter series on the 3-Tiered Methodology for software product line (SPL) engineering.

During the last few months, I've provided an introductory view into the three tiers of capabilities and benefits delivered by this new generation SPL methodology. In tandem with our newsletter series, I've introduced and discussed the new methodology to a spectrum of software architects, engineering managers, product marketing executives and developers -- from experienced SPL practitioners to novices -- as well as key industry analysts and media leaders.

>> See Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 of the newsletter series for a review of previous tiers.

The feedback I've received decisively shows that this new methodology is resonating strongly in the software development community. This response validates the industry's desire for a pragmatic, new generation SPL approach.

The following overview spotlights how BigLever customer, HomeAway, is applying the 3-Tiered approach to establish its new SPL practice.

HomeAway: Applying the 3-Tiered SPL Methodology

>> See the HomeAway case study.

As the worldwide leader in online vacation home rentals,'s corporate vision calls for the rapid expansion of its rental listings across the globe. Due to its aggressive growth goals, HomeAway needed to quickly scale its development capabilities to keep pace with the acquisition of existing websites, while producing new sites, which included an array of individual brand and company identities, languages, geographic locations, features, and more.

As the complexity of its development efforts grew exponentially, the company faced major challenges in using conventional technologies to build, test, deploy and manage its growing website product line. HomeAway soon realized that its development situation entailed complex challenges that could be effectively addressed by adopting a SPL approach.

Using the 3-Tiered Methodology and Gears SPL engineering technology from BigLever Software, HomeAway's development team achieved notable results in its incremental transition to SPL practice – producing significant engineering and business benefits in the first 60 days. The effort quickly paid for itself, as many of the benefits came within the initial few weeks.

At the base tier of the 3-Tiered Methodology, HomeAway quickly established the basic infrastructure for identifying and managing variation in their website product line. In the middle tier, the company made the transition from product-centric development to core asset focused development, which enables them to manage their site portfolio development as a single system rather than a multitude of site products.

And at the top tier, product marketing and engineering teams have recognized the potential of managing portfolio evolution based on features, as features specifications have become more clear and innovations have been made in creating new co-branded sites that target specific customer groups.

Some of the key benefits HomeAway has achieved include:

  • Reduced software footprint has lowered hardware requirements.
  • Less complexity has led to greater control, more effective testing, reduced deployment times, and higher quality.
  • Greater flexibility (for example, in server configurations) can be achieved on the sites, and changes can be made on one site without affecting others, allowing lucrative new features to be deployed faster and with a lower regression testing burden.
  • Innovative new sites with feature profiles finely tuned to cultivate narrow market segments can be conceived, designed and deployed with dramatically less time and effort.

Most importantly, the capabilities and benefits at all three tiers continue to expand as HomeAway moves forward with its incremental SPL transition strategy.

HomeAway's notable SPL achievements recently received industry recognition with the company's induction into the Software Product Line Hall of Fame.

To learn more about this innovative SPL implementation, download the HomeAway case study.

Best Regards,

Charles W. Krueger
BigLever Software CEO Moderator

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