K. Schmid, R. Rabiser, M. Becker, M. Galster, I. Groher, D. Weyns: Bridging the Gap: Voices from Industry and Research on Industrial Relevance of SPLC, 25th ACM International Systems and Software Product Line Conference (SPLC 2021), Leicester, United Kingdom, September 6-11, 2021. Doi:10.1145/3461001.3474301
Product line engineering emerged from a fruitful interaction of applied research in academia, industry research, and software engineering practice. SPLC was created as the primary venue to exchange ideas on this emerging topic and integrate the communities. Yet, today, SPLC is mostly regarded as an academic conference with little industry participation. Since a strong integration of academia and industry is often seen positive, here, we try to better understand motivations for practitioners to visit academic conferences like SPLC and the impact this has on these conferences. This assessment is based on systematic interviews with practitioners and researchers, who have been members of the SPLC community and other leading software engineering communities for a long time. Our preliminary results clarify the relevance and interest of practitioners and researchers to exchange knowledge and learn when attending scientific software engineering conferences such as SPLC. Yet, the results also highlight the differences between the goals of industry and academic conference participants, which often lead to inefficiencies and even barriers for constructive interaction at scientific conferences such as SPLC. We use this as a basis for pointing out further discussion points, both from the perspective of the interviewees as well as the authors.