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Product family(Producer perspective):

A Product Family is a collection of products that share common elements, methodologies, and tools as viewed from a design perspective.1

Product line(Consumer Perspective): 

A Standards Product line is a set of specifications that share a common,managed set of capabilities satisfying the specified needs of a particular market segment and that are developed from a common set of core resources in a prescribed way2.


Governance establishes rules that control decision-making3.


Methodology establishes processes that comply with governance rules and may introduce additional rules4.


Management makes decisions according to governance rules5


Work Groups(WGs) generate artifacts that may cross product families:  - content within their field of expertise . e.g. Documents in V2, CDA, FHIR.

Methodology Groups define consistent methods for development and expression of the artifacts for their assigned product family(s). 

  • Infrastructure and Messaging(InM) and Vocabulary share methodology for Version 2.
  • Modeling and Methodology(MnM) and Vocabulary share methodology for Version 3.
  • Modeling and Methodology(MnM) and Vocabulary share methodology for FHIR.
  • Structured Documents and Vocabulary share methodology for CDA.

Management Groups(MGs) ensure Work groups generate their content using the correct methodology for the product family.

  • CDA management Group provides day-to-day oversight of the processes related to Clinical Document Architecture (CDA).
  • FHIR Management Group (FMG) provides day-to-day oversight of FHIR-related work group activities
  • V2 Management Group provides day-to-day oversight of Version 2 work group activities

Standards Governance Board(SGB) ensures that Methodology and Management groups follow their own rules as described in their Decision Making Practices, as well as global HL7 rules and precepts.

Steering Divisions(SDs) 

  • Encourages cross work group collaboration and sharing
  • Interacts with other Steering Divisions for concern identification and resolution
  • Coordinate, facilitate project management across work groups.   
  • Monitors and assists in the management of  Work Group Health

  • Engages with the Technical Steering Committee and Work Groups in the clarification, development and implementation of resolutions to identified concerns
  • Assists in the education and adoption of HL7 methodologies and strategies as the organization continues to change

Technical Steering Committee(TSC)

A Technical Steering Committee (TSC) shall be established to facilitate the coordination and activities of the Working Group".3

The HL7 Technical Steering Committee’s mission is to provide the technical direction to the HL7 organization to achieve the vision of creating the best and most widely used standards in healthcare. The TSC oversees and coordinates the technical efforts contributed by the HL7 participants to ensure that the efforts of the Working Group (WG) are focused on the overall HL7 mission.


Governance Precepts:

Governance  establishes rules that control decision-making.

Governance does not dictate when or how to make a decision. It determines who should make the decision and establishes limits for that person or group.


  • identifies constraints and control guidelines on management decisions
  • defines the responsibility for and authority to make various decisions
  • enumerates the consequences of non-compliance to governance metrics

Management Precepts:

Management makes decisions according to governance rules.

Management is responsible for day-to-day operations and for ensuring that decisions made adhere to governance and methodology rules.

Methodology Precepts

Methodology establishes processes that comply with governance rules and may introduce additional rules.

Methodology establishes processes that carry out specific types of decisions that adhere to governance rules.

HL7 Governance Model:

HL7 Board

Sets strategic goals

Technical Steering Committee  

Coordinates the workings of the reporting groups to meet the strategic initiatives set by the HL7 Board.

Steering Divisions:

A Steering division is responsible for managing a set of Work Groups (WG) to ensure

  • The WG is producing content in the domain/territory/province/dominion/field/sphere of the WG.
  • The WG is active - indicated by Work Group Health

Standards Governance Board

The SGB will focus its on enabling the following:

  • Precepts that require consistency and conformity across all product families and product lines
  • Specifications that are and remain coherent and meet organizational objectives
  • Stakeholders feel that the specifications are meeting their needs
  • Specifications are developed and evolve in a transparent process

Formal Relationships With Other HL7 Groups

  • The SGB is appointed by and reports to the HL7 Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Appeal of SGB decisions may be submitted to the TSC.
  • The SGB recommends members and monitors the activities of management groups.
  • The SGB reviews and approves methodology, guidelines and rules proposed by the Methodology Group.
  • The SGB adjudicates issues between the management group and the methodology group.
  • The SGB coordinates with the Management Groups through liaisons identified by the Management Groups

Product Family Management Group

Management groups will focus its energy on enabling and ensuring the following:

  • Product Family development is coordinated and consistent across the organization and of high quality
  • Work groups have timely feedback and guidance and their development of Product family artifacts are aligned with the broader goals of HL7 and its constituent communities
  • Work groups act in a coordinated manner with quick resolution of Product Family related disputes
  • Work groups understand what is expected of them and have access to the skills and tools necessary to perform their domain specific Product Family related work
  • Known Product Family risks are recorded, managed, and reviewed regularly per the Standards Governance Board precept on vitality assessment.

Formal Relationships:

  • The MG reports to the TSC
  • The MG is responsible for adhering to precepts established by the SGB
  • The MG provides advice and recommendations to the SGB
  • The MG coordinates with the group responsible for  Product Family Methodology 

Product Family Methodology Group

("Methodology establishes processes that comply with governance rules and may introduce additional rules."6)

Methodology groups are responsible to

  • Develop the methodology for the product family

  • Ensure that work groups are following the approved methodology for the product family.


1 Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Software Product Lines. Retrieved October 25,
2013, from:
2 Ibid.

3 Health Level Seven International. Service-Aware Interoperability Framework - Canonical Definition Section 2.1.1.Retrieved from

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6. HL7 Governance and Operations Manual April 26, 2018 Retrieved July 11, 2018 from