A group of products sharing a common, managed set of features that satisfy specific needs of a selected market or mission and that are developed from a common set of core assets in a prescribed way. (See also “service line.”)

The development or acquisition of products for the product line is based on exploiting commonality and bounding variation (i.e., restricting unnecessary product variation) across the group of products. The managed set of core assets (e.g., requirements, architectures, components, tools, testing artifacts, operating procedures, software) includes prescriptive guidance for their use in product development. Product line operations involve interlocking execution of the broad activities of core asset development, product development, and management.

Many people use “product line” just to mean the set of products produced by a particular business unit, whether they are built with shared assets or not. We call that collection a "portfolio," and reserve "product line" to have the technical meaning given here.

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The glossary defines the basic terms used in CMMI models.