What is UMA?
The Unified Method Architecture (UMA) is a process engineering meta-model that defines schema and terminology for
representing methods consisting of method content and processes. Also see Concept: Key Capabilities of the Unified Method Architecture (UMA) for more
Fundamental principle within UMA
UMA is based on the following fundamental separations of concern:
The separation of core method content versus the application of method content in processes
The definition of an optional extensibility mechanism in the method for large scale management of method and
Packaging and configuration of method content, processes, and plugins in method libraries
A separation of recommended method and guidance description fields
A separation of semantic elements from their notation in process diagrams
The Basic Elements of UMA
The most fundamental principle of the Unified Method Architecture (UMA) is the separation of reusable core method
content from its application in processes and almost all of UMA's elements are categorized along this separations.
The Unified Method Architecture separates reusable core method content from its application in processes. Method
content describes what is to be produced, the necessary skills required and the step-by-step explanation describing how
specific development goals are achieved, independently of the placement of these items within a development
lifecycle. Processes take these method elements and relate them into semi-ordered sequences that are customized
to specific types of projects. For example, a software development project that develops an application from scratch
performs development tasks such as "Develop Vision" or "Use Case Design" similar to a project that extends an existing
software system. However, the two projects will perform the Tasks at different points in time with a different
emphasis, i.e. they will perform the steps of these tasks at different point of time and perhaps apply individual
variations and additions.
The figure below shows the difference between method content and process by representing them as two different
Method content describing how development work is being performed is categorized by disciplines. Each
discipline is comprised of tasks (not visible in the figure) that provide step-by-step descriptions of how specific
development goals are achieved.
For a process, tasks have been referenced by the process from the method content and placed into breakdown
structures and workflows ready for instantiation by allocating resources to perform the work and having real work
products as the inputs and outputs of the tasks.
Method Content definition versus
the application of Method Content in a Process.
UMA's key concepts reflect this separation of method content from process as shown in the figure below. It show
that a Method (also refered to as a Method Framework) comprises on method content described with concepts such Work
Products, Roles, Task and Categories as well as Processes described with Activities, Capability Patterns, or Delivery
Overview of how the key UMA concepts are positioned based on whether they represent method content or process
Key Method Content Elements are:
Key Process Elements are:
Guidance comes in many types: