Contributions to Decision Management in Solution-Driven Software Product Line Businesses
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Software product lines support systematic reuse by taking advantage of the commonalities within a portfolio of similar software products. In solution-driven software product line businesses, the products managed by the product line are unique solutions created for individual customers and their specific problems. Although large parts of these products are customer-specific, they still share common characteristics that enable systematic reuse in this domain. Making and managing decisions by selecting among alternatives is important at all levels of the engineering process of solution-driven software product lines. Decisions are typically interrelated and heavily influenced by economic, organizational, and technical considerations. Their effective documentation and management together with the rationale, implications, relationships, and considered alternatives have been reported as a major challenge in current software engineering practice. If not documented, intricate knowledge of a system easily evaporates, which leads to expensive system evolution, a lack of stakeholder communication, limited reusability of assets, and poor traceability between requirements, architecture, and implementation.
This cumulative habilitation thesis addresses challenges of solution-driven software product lines in the areas of problem space decision management, solution space decision management, and regarding mapping problem space to solution space decisions. In the problem space, decision management is concerned with modeling the available alternatives and their relationships from a domain perspective.