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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Phase 3 of Unified Process Lifecycle - Construction

Unified process has never been so late in making its mark in the field of the iterative and incremental software development approaches. The unified process has got many refinements and one of them is the rational unified process. The whole process has been divided in to 4 phases the names of which are:
  1. Inception
  2. Elaboration
  3. Construction and
  4. Transition
The third phase i.e., the construction phase is what we have discussed throughout this article. So let us see what does this phase actually consists of. This is perhaps the largest phase of the whole unified software development process.
The progress that is to be made in this phase is completely dependent on the foundation that was laid in the previous phase. We mean to say that the remaining structure of the software system is built on the baseline that was developed in the elaboration phase. 

What is the Construction Phase

- Since the construction will be based up on the architecture baseline it is required that the baseline must have been properly developed along with the addressing of the risk factors. 
- In this phase, the implementation of the features and functionality of the software system takes place in an iterative manner and involves the time boxed iterations which are generally of very short duration. 
- These iterations are developed as a time boxed series and with every iteration an executable release of the software system or application is produced. 
- It is quite customary that the full length use cases must be written during the construction phase which then serves as a beginning for a new iteration and the process continues. 
- This phase makes use of the common UML (unified modelling language) diagrams. 
- Some of the common UML diagrams that are generally used are mentioned below:
  1. Activity diagrams
  2. Sequence diagrams
  3. Collaboration diagrams
  4. State diagrams
  5. Transition diagrams
  6. Interaction overview diagrams and so on.
- This is the phase that witnesses a lot of coding takes place since the primary objective is to build the software system or application. 
- However, the primary focus is on the development of the features and components of the system throughout the construction of the software system or application. 
- The number of the iterations involved in the construction depends largely up on the size of the project.
- This is generally done with the purpose of dividing the use cases in to small segments that are manageable enough and lead to the production of the demonstrable prototypes. 
- This is the phase in which the first external release of the software product is produced and this stage is marked by the IOCM or initial operational capability milestone. 

Goals defined for Construction Phase

Few goals have also been defined for this phase of the unified process as mentioned below:
  1. Describing the remaining requirements that were not addressed in the preceding phases.
  2. Drawing up a design for the system.
  3. Ensuring that the system meets the needs of the customers and fit in to the port folio of the organization.
  4. Completing component development.
  5. Testing of the system and its documentation.
  6. Optimizing the resources so that the development cost is reduced.
  7. Achieving as much quality as possible.
  8. Developing useful versions of the software product.
There is always a rush among the software development organizations to improve the software development processes they are using. Around 80- 90 % of the software failure arises due to faults that are made during the construction phase of the unified process. It is obvious that a more sensible approach will be followed out of all the options available.   

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