Concept: Lifecycle Objectives Milestone
This guideline discusses the evaluation criteria for the Lifecycle Objectives Milestone at the end of the inception phase. The state of the essential artifacts is also described.
Main Description

At the end of the inception phase is the first major project milestone or Lifecycle Objectives Milestone. At this point, you examine the lifecycle objectives of the project, and decide either to proceed with the project or to cancel it.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Stakeholder concurrence on scope definition and cost/schedule estimates
  • Agreement that the right set of requirements have been captured and that there is a shared understanding of these requirements.
  • Agreement that the cost/schedule estimates, priorities, risks, and development process are appropriate.
  • All risks have been identified and a mitigation strategy exists for each.

The project may be aborted or considerably re-thought if it fails to reach this milestone.


Essential Artifacts (in order of importance) State at milestone
Vision The project's core requirements, key features, and main constraints are documented.
Business Case Defined and approved.
Risk List Initial project risks identified.
Software Development Plan Initial phases, their durations and objectives identified. Resource estimates (specifically the time, staff, and development environment costs in particular) in the Software Development Plan must be consistent with the Business Case.

The resource estimate may encompass either the entire project through delivery, or only an estimate of resources needed to go through the elaboration phase. Estimates of the resources required for the entire project should be viewed as very rough, a "guesstimate" at this point. This estimate is updated in each phase and each iteration, and becomes more accurate with each iteration. 

Depending on the needs of the project, one or more of the enclosed "Plan" artifacts may be conditionally completed. An initial Product Acceptance Plan is often reviewed and baselined. The Product Acceptance plan is refined in subsequent iterations as additional requirements are discovered. In addition, any enclosed "Guidelines" artifacts are typically in at least a "draft" form.

Iteration Plan Iteration plan for first Elaboration iteration completed and reviewed.
Development Process Adaptations and extensions to the Rational Unified Process, documented and reviewed. This typically includes project specific guidelines and templates, as well as a development case for documenting project-specific tailoring decisions.
Development Infrastructure

All tools to support the project are selected. The tools necessary for work in Inception are installed.

In particular, the Configuration Management environment should be set up.

Glossary Important terms defined; glossary reviewed.
Use-Case Model (Actors, Use Cases) Important actors and use cases identified and flows of events outlined for only the most critical use cases.

Optional Artifacts

State at milestone

Domain Model (a.k.a. Business Analysis Model) The key concepts being used in the system, documented and reviewed. Used as an extension to the Glossary in cases where there are specific relationships between concepts that are essential to capture.
Prototypes One or more proof of concept prototypes, to support the Vision and Business Case, and to address very specific risks.