Unifying Anything

Unified Zebras by me

At the beginning, when God brought software to the world, the IT crowd started to create big and complicated systems. But there was a problem; due to the lack of uniformity, the project in development could be compared to a tangled spaghetti because of every aspect but the code.

Thus, Some crazy computer people started to design a framework that allowed us as developers, to get productivity, an enhanced project structure and better results for the clients in the process. This people came out with the Unified Process. So, What is the unified process? Let’s talk about it.

First things first, the unified process is not a a software development process, it’s an extensible framework. This means that it should be customized for every project or organization, always having in mind the main characteristics of the UP, which i’m about to explain.

The  Unified Process is a framework for an iterative and incremental software development process.
Main bass loop of Chameleon, a masterpiece by Herbie Hancock. Image by Ethan Hein

Iterative and incremental

The Unified Process is like an endless loop, until the project is finished; let’s go deep about it. The Elaboration, Construction and Transition phases are divided into a series of timed iterations. Each iteration results in an increment, which is a new release of the system that contains added or improved functionality.

Architecture-centered

Architecture sits at the heart of the project team’s efforts to shape the system.

Risk Focused

The Unified Process requires the project team to focus on addressing the most critical risks early in the project life cycle.

Phases

  • Inception
  • Elaboration (milestone)
  • Construction (release)
  • Transition (final production release)

Inception

Inception is the smallest phase in the project, and ideally it should be quite short. You should develop an approximate vision of the system, make the business case, define the scope, and produce rough estimate for cost and schedule.

Elaboration

At this time, the project team is expected to capture the system requirements. However, the main goals of Elaboration are addressing known risk factors and to establish and validate the system architecture.

Construction phase

Construction is the largest phase of the project. In this phase, the remainder of the system is built on the foundation laid in Elaboration. System features are implemented in a series of short, time-boxed iterations. Each iteration results in an executable release of the software.

Transition phase

The final project phase is Transition. In this phase the system is deployed to the target users. Feedback received from an initial release may result in further refinements to be incorporated over the course of several Transition phase iterations. The transition phase also includes system conversions and user training.

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