- Mar 22, 2002
The Unified Process
The Unified Process from Rational Software is a very complete and detailed software process. It can be quite overwhelming. Out of the box, the Unified Process contains 103 artifacts, 9 workflows, 8 project plan templates, 4 phases, 136 activities, 14 work guidelines, and 43 Word and HTML templates. However, having built my own training course on the Unified Process and having implemented it for a host of companies, I have found that most projects stick with ten "essential" artifacts. These will be presented in more detail in Appendix A.
The Unified Process takes the concept of workflows, which are horizontal, and phases, which are vertical, and presents a model that quite nicely implements the notion of iterative and incremental software development. In FIGURE 1-8 you can see the two concepts in action.
FIGURE 1-8 Rational Software's Unified Process
Notice that each iteration within a phase slices through all the work-flows. This is a key point in the Unified Process. Looking horizontally across the Requirements workflow, for instance, you will notice that the emphasis on requirements is much heavier in the early phases (Inception and Elaboration). This should make sense because as we move further through the lifecycle toward the Construction phase, there should be less emphasis on requirements.
If you visit the Unified Process project plans in Appendix A, you will see a task in every iteration, even during Transition, that forces the project to address changes in requirements. Notice that the Implementation workflow shows up in the Inception phase, but without much emphasis.
This indicates that there may be some type of proof-of-concept prototype being undertaken very early in the project's lifecycle.
FIGURE 1-9 shows the activity sets for the Requirements workflow. An activity set consists of task groupings that should be carried out by the project team. For instance, by clicking on the activity set "Analyze the Problem," you are presented with Figure 1-10.
FIGURE 1-9 Activity sets in the Requirements workflow
FIGURE 1-10 shows the tasks that make up the activity set "Analyze the Problem." When selecting, for instance, "Find Actors and Use-Cases," you are presented with several guidelines and templates to assist you in your efforts. This is just a cursory overview, but your next project should investigate what the Unified Process has to offer.
FIGURE 1-10 "Analyze the Problem" activity set within the Requirements workflow
We will spend much more time with the Unified Process as we move through the book. As we cover each chapter, I will point out both the workflow and the activity sets that are being discussed. I encourage any project team to seriously consider the Unified Process for your project. At the time of this writing the product costs under $800 and runs on a Web server that can be referenced by everyone on the team. What you get for your money is well worth the investment. The fun part is separating the wheat from the chaff and working on only the artifacts that will provide the biggest bang for the buck. That's what this book intends to do.