Roadmap: OpenUP Roadmap
This roadmap presents an overview of OpenUP, its purpose, and its lifecycle.
Main Description

Overview of OpenUP

OpenUP is for small teams who work together in the same location. The team needs to engage in plenty of daily face-to-face interaction. Team members include the stakeholders, developers, architects, project manager, and testers. They make their own decisions about what they need to work on, what the priorities are, and how best to address stakeholder needs. The organization must support the team by allowing them these responsibilities.

Team members collaborate extensively. The presence of stakeholders as team members is critical to successfully implementing OpenUP.

Team members participate in daily stand-up meetings to communicate status and issues. Problems are addressed outside of the daily meetings.

OpenUP focuses on significantly reducing risk early in the lifecycle. This requires regular risk review meetings and rigorous implementation of mitigation strategies.

All work is listed, tracked, and assigned through the Work Items List. Team members use this single repository for all tasks that need to be recorded and tracked. This includes all change requests, bugs, and stakeholder requests.

Use cases are used to elicit and describe requirements; therefore, team members need to develop skills in writing good use cases. Stakeholders are responsible for reviewing and certifying that the requirements are correct. Use cases are developed collaboratively.

Architecturally significant requirements must be identified and stabilized in the Elaboration phase so that a robust architecture can be created as the core of the system. An architecturally significant requirement change that must be addressed may arise later in development, but the risk of this happening is significantly reduced in the Elaboration iteration.

Testing is performed multiple times per iteration, every time the solution is incremented with the development of a requirement, change, or bug fix. These tests happen after developers have developed the solution (which should have been unit-tested) and integrate it into the code base. These tests help guarantee that a stable build is created and always available as development progresses.

OpenUP does not include content for deployment, configuration management, or the development environment (such as customizing this process or setting up development environments). OpenUP focuses on a singe team, and these areas are generally addressed at an organizational or enterprise level. Look for extensions to OpenUP that address these wider areas.

OpenUP is an iterative software development process that is minimal, complete, and extensible. It is governed by four core principles:

People in roles perform tasks that use and produce artifacts. OpenUP describes the minimal set of roles, tasks (organized by disciplines), and artifacts (organized by work product domains) involved in software development:

The OpenUP software development lifecycle

OpenUP is an iterative process distributed throughout four phases: Inception, Elaboration, Construction, and Transition. Each phase consists of one or more iterations where stable, working versions of the software are developed and released, with the completion of each iteration representing a minor milestone for the project and contributing to the successful achievement of the phase's major milestone, where phase objectives are met.

The following diagram depicts OpenUP Lifecycle.

Figure 1: Diagram of the OpenUP Lifecycle

How to get started?

The fourth OpenUP core principle, "Evolve to continuously obtain feedback and improve", suggests an iterative and incremental approach to adopting OpenUP.

  • Start with the core principles and understand the intentions behind OpenUP.
  • Then assess your existing process, and select one or two key areas that you would like to improve.
  • Begin using OpenUP to improve these areas first.
  • In later iterations or development cycles, make incremental improvements in other areas.
  • If you have little or no experience with unified processes or other iterative processes, use OpenUP in a small pilot project, perhaps with only three to four people working for only two to three months.

While OpenUP is a ready to use as-is, you may choose to extend the process or modify the work product templates to suit your specific needs. For example:

  • You may require more or less precision in your work products.
  • Your organization may have specific configuration management practices or safety protocols to include in your process.
  • You may simply want to put your own corporate logo on the banner.
  • You may want to incorporate lessons learned from a retrospective review into OpenUP.

Use EPF Composer to extend and tailor OpenUP. For more information about EPF composer, visit

link to inception phase concept link to elaboration phase concept link to construction phase concept link to transition phase concept link to inception phase iteration delivery process link to elaboration phase iteration delivery process link to construction phase iteration delivery process link to transition phase iteration delivery process