The list of requirements that is developed in the definition phase can be used to
make design choices. In the design phase, one or more designs are developed,
with which the project result can apparently be achieved. Depending on the subject
of the project, the products of the design phase can include dioramas, sketches,
flow charts, site trees, HTML screen designs, prototypes, photo impressions and
UML schemas. The project supervisors use these designs to choose the definitive
design that will be produced in the project. This is followed by the development
phase. As in the definition phase, once the design has been chosen, it cannot be
changed in a later stage of the project.
Figure 3: Example: Global design for the DANS Architecture Archive
In a young, very informal company, the design department was run by an artist.
The term ‘design department’ was not accurate in this case; it was more a group of
designers who were working together. In addition, everyone was much too busy,
including the head of the department.
One project involved producing a number of designs, which were quite
important to the success of the project. A young designer on the project team
created the designs. Although the head of the design department had ultimate
responsibility for the designs, he never attended the meetings of the project team
when the designs were to be discussed. The project leader always invited him, and
sent him e-mails containing his young colleague’s sketches, but the e-mails
remained unanswered. The project leader and the young designer erroneously
assumed that the department head had approved the designs. The implementation
phase began. When the project was nearly finished, the result was presented to the
department head, who became furious and demanded that it be completely redone.
The budget, however, was almost exhausted.
During the development phase, everything that will be needed to implement the
project is arranged. Potential suppliers or subcontractors are brought in, a schedule
is made, materials and tools are ordered, instructions are given to the personnel
and so forth. The development phase is complete when implementation is ready to
start. All matters must be clear for the parties that will carry out the
In some projects, particularly smaller ones, a formal development phase is
probably not necessary. The important point is that it must be clear what must be
done in the implementation phase, by whom and when.
The project takes shape during the implementation phase. This phase involves the
construction of the actual project result. Programmers are occupied with encoding,
designers are involved in developing graphic material, contractors are building, the
actual reorganisation takes place. It is during this phase that the project becomes
visible to outsiders, to whom it may appear that the project has just begun. The
implementation phase is the ‘doing’ phase, and it is important to maintain the
In one project, it had escaped the project team’s attention that one of the most
important team members was expecting to become a father at any moment and
would thereafter be completely unavailable for about a month. When the time
came, an external specialist was brought in to take over his work, in order to keep
the team from grinding to a halt. Although the team was able to proceed, the
external expertise put a considerable dent in the budget.
At the end of the implementation phase, the result is evaluated according to the list
of requirements that was created in the definition phase. It is also evaluated
according to the designs. For example, tests may be conducted to determine
whether the web application does indeed support Explorer 5 and Firefox 1.0 and
higher. It may be determined whether the trim on the building has been made
according to the agreement, or whether the materials that were used were indeed
those that had been specified in the definition phase. This phase is complete when
all of the requirements have been met and when the result corresponds to the
Those who are involved in a project should keep in mind that it is hardly ever
possible to achieve a project result that precisely meets all of the requirements that
were originally specified in the definition phase. Unexpected events or advancing
insight sometimes require a project team to deviate from the original list of
requirements or other design documents during the implementation of the project.
This is a potential source of conflict, particularly if an external customer has
ordered the project result. In such cases, the customer can appeal to the
agreements that were made during the definition phase.
As a rule, the requirements cannot be changed after the end of the definition
phase. This also applies to designs: the design may not be changed after the
design phase has been completed. Should this nonetheless be necessary (which
does sometimes occur), the project leader should ensure that the changes are
discussed with those involved (particularly the decision-makers or customers) as
soon as possible. It is also important that the changes that have been chosen are
well documented, in order to prevent later misunderstandings. More information
about the documentation of the project follows later in this handbook.
Although it is extremely important, the follow-up phase is often neglected. During
this phase, everything is arranged that is necessary to bring the project to a
successful completion. Examples of activities in the follow-up phase include writing
handbooks, providing instruction and training for users, setting up a help desk,
maintaining the result, evaluating the project itself, writing the project report,
holding a party to celebrate the result that has been achieved, transferring to the
directors and dismantling the project team.
The central question in the follow-up phase concerns when and where the
project ends. Project leaders often joke among themselves that the first ninety per
cent of a project proceeds quickly and that the final ten per cent can take years.
The boundaries of the project should be considered in the beginning of a project, so
that the project can be closed in the follow-up phase, once it has reached these
It is sometimes unclear for those concerned whether the project result is to be
a prototype or a working product. This is particularly common in innovative
projects in which the outcome is not certain. Customers may expect to receive a
product, while the project team assumes that it is building a prototype. Such
situations are particularly likely to manifest themselves in the follow-up phase.
Consider the case of a software project to test a very new concept.
There was some anxiety concerning whether any results would be produced at all.
The project eventually produced good results. The team delivered a piece of
software that worked well, at least within the testing context. The customer, who
did not know much about IT, thought that he had received a working product. After
all, it had worked on his office computer. The software did indeed work, but when it
was installed on the computers of fifty employees, the prototype began to have
problems, and it was sometimes instable.
Although the programmers would have been able to repair the software, they
had no time, as they were already involved in the next project. Furthermore, they
had no interest in patching up something that they considered a trial piece. Several
months later, when Microsoft released its Service Pack 2 for Windows, the software
completely stopped functioning. The customer was angry that the ‘product’ once
again did not work. Because the customer was important, the project leader tried
to persuade the programmers to make a few repairs. The programmers were
resistant, however, as repairing the bugs would cause too much disruption in their
new project. Furthermore, they perceived the software as a prototype. Making it
suitable for large-scale use would require changing the entire architectural
structure. They wondered if the stream of complaints from the customer would
The motto, ‘Think before you act’ is at the heart of the six-phase model. Each
phase has its own work package. Each work package has its own aspects that
should be the focus of concentration. It is therefore unnecessary to continue
discussing what is to be made during the implementation phase. If all has gone
well, this was already determined in the definition phase and the design phase. For
a more detailed description of the six-phase model and the task packets for each
phase, see Wijnen (2004) and Kor (2002).