Hewlett-Packard (5th Case)

Company Background

HP is one of the world's leading IT companies with many different business areas, reaching from consumer handheld devices to powerful supercomputer installations.


One important business area is the manufacturing of printing technology. HP must maintain a wide range of different firmware of different products for printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.


HP initiated the Owen Firmware Cooperative to install a software product line approach. Several product teams build a community to provide the product line in a cooperative way. Every product team adopts ownership of newly produced or significantly changed core assets, so everyone feels responsible for the quality of the platform. A small platform team ensures the robustness of the core assets and guides the product teams in using the core assets.


The software product line approach yields a reuse rate of about 70% for new products. About 20% of the application assets are based on slightly modified core assets and only 10% require writing new code. The reuse of the core assets leads to significant business advantages. Compared with the development of earlier products, the development of new firmware takes only 25% of the staff resources. In spite of the reduction of staff, the development takes only 33% of the time. This productivity improvement goes hand in hand with a qualitative advancement. The software product line approach leads to 96% fewer defects compared with earlier products.


  • P. Toft, D. Coleman, and J. Ohta; "A Cooperative Model for Cross-Divisional Product Development for a Software Product Line", In: Proceedings of the First Software Product Lines Conference (SPLC-1), Denver, Kluwer, 2000, pp. 111-132.
  • D. Fafchamps; "Organizational Factors and Reuse", IEEE Software, vol. 11, no. 5, 1994, pp. 31-41.
  • S. Douma and H. Schreuder; Economic Approaches to Organizations, 3rd edition, Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Software Product Lines (Website)
  • SPLC2 - Product Line Hall of Fame (Website)