What is Unified process ?

The Unified Process (UP), or Unified Software Development Process, is a iterative and incremental software development framework from which a customized process can be defined.  The framework contains many components and has been modified a number of times to create several variations. The most popular variations include the Rational Unified Process (RUP) and the Open Unified Process (OpenUP).  The framework has several key characteristics which seem to carry across all variations. Unified process can be applied to different software systems with different levels of technical and managerial complexity across various domains and organizational cultures.

There are four phases in unified process :
  • Inception
  • Elaboration
  • Construction
  • Transition

1. Inception : The Inception Phase is the part of the framework when the “why” of the development effort is defined.  This includes such activities such as defining the business case, creating a vision document with core requirements, features, and constraints, creating an initial risk assessment, creating a initial project plan and the creation of one or more prototypes (especially architectural prototypes).

2. Elaboration : The Elaboration Phase is the part of the framework when more detailed analysis and planning are undertaken to better understand the problem domain, develop a more concrete project plan, identify and eliminate the high-risk elements of the effort, and to establish a solid architectural foundation for the software to be developed.  The goal is to develop a “mile wide and inch deep” view of the system to be developed.

3. Construction : The Construction Phase is the part of the framework where software development, integration, and testing takes place.  Because of the emphasis on component-based architectures and the significant attention paid to the architectural plan in the Inception and Elaboration phases, it should be possible to initiate multiple Construction Phases within a single cycle if the software to be developed is complex enough to support multiple discreet components.

4. Transition : The Transition Phase of the framework is where the software is deployed to end users and is essentially a broad “beta” test of the application.  Users begin to use the new software, issues are identified and potentially corrected, and any features that were delayed are finished and deployed.   The transition phase can include multiple iterations of the software, including beta releases, bug fixes, and enhancements.

The main characteristics of the Unified Process are as follows :

  • It is an iterative and incremental development framework
  • It is architecture-centric with major work being done to define and validate an architectural design for most coding is done
  • It is risk-focused and emphasizes that highest-risk factors be addressed in the earliest deliverables possible
  • It is use-case and UML model driven with nearly all requirements being documented in one of those forms

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