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Transition Phase

The purpose of the Transition Phase is to transition the software product into the user community. Once the product has been given to the end user, issues usually arise that require the development of new releases, correct problems, or finish some of the features that may have been postponed.

The Transition Phase is entered when a baseline is mature enough to be deployed in the end-user domain. This typically requires that some usable subset of the system has been completed with acceptable quality level and user documentation so that transition to the user will provide positive results for all parties. This includes: 1) "beta testing" to validate the new system against user expectations, 2) beta testing and parallel operation relative to a legacy system that it is replacing, 3) conversion of operational databases, 4) training of users and maintainers, 5) roll-out to the marketing, distribution and sales forces. The Transition Phase concludes when the deployment baseline has achieved the completed vision. For some projects this lifecycle end point may coincide with the lifecycle starting point of the next cycle, leading to the next generation or version of the product. For other projects it may coincide with a complete delivery of the artifacts to a third party responsible for operations, maintenance and enhancements of the delivered system.

The transition focuses on the activities required to place the software into the hands of the users. Typically this phase includes several iterations, including beta releases, general availability releases, and bug fix and enhancement releases. Considerable effort is expended in developing user-oriented documentation, training users, supporting users in their initial product use, and reacting to user feedback. At this point in the lifecycle, however, user feedback should be confined mostly to product tuning, configuring, installing and usability issues.

The primary objectives of the Transition Phase include:

  • Achieving user self-supportability.
  • Achieving stakeholder concurrence that deployment baselines are complete and consistent with the evaluation criteria of the vision.
  • Achieving final product baseline as rapidly and cost effectively as practical.

The essential activities of the Transition Phase are:

  • Deployment-specific engineering: cutover, commercial packaging and production, sales rollout, field personnel training.
  • Tuning activities: bug fixing, enhancement for performance and usability.
  • Assessment of the deployment baselines against the complete vision and the acceptance criteria for the product.

In the Transition Phase, the activities performed during an iteration depend on the goal: for fixing bugs, implementation and test are usually enough. If new features have to be added, the iteration is similar to the Construction Phase.

This phase can range from very simple to extremely complex, depending on the kind of product. A new release of an existing desktop product may be very simple, whereas the replacement of a nation's air-traffic control system may be very complex.



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