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This paper presents an empirical study of how the application of genuine architecture can be employed beyond the design phase of product line development. The study is based on a co-operative research project with a company developing product line architecture for hydraulic modelling software. By concretising the architecture as a build hierarchy the architecture mediates the evolution of the design throughout the whole software life cycle. The empirical evidence has confirmed the improvements of (1) the software quality and flexibility, (2) the communication and cooperation with new developers, (3) the distribution of work and parallel implementation, and (4) the foreseen usage by hydraulic and environmental consultants who tailor the software. Our research further indicates requirements for the architectural analysis tools that are deliberately embedded in the daily development practices.