The DEFINE Phase

Previous Next

In the DEFINE phase, you design, formulate and test specifications and implementations.

The word DEFINE is perhaps unexpected for a work phase that includes other activities besides declaring objects in a metamodel: programming in Java, .NET or XSLT, executing SQL queries, writing help documents, preparing upgrade scripts... The idea behind the word DEFINE is that is it USoft's ambition to make as much of this work a simple definition job.

Specifications describe the target business conduct and the role that new or updated business software plays in it. They have a textual format (definitions of terms, business rules, requirements, user stories...) or a diagram format (process flow diagrams, data structure diagrams, data flow diagrams, use case diagrams...). The SPECIFY task type of the DEFINE phase describes in more detail what specifications are.

Implementations include the actual working software that is going to be delivered, but also preparations in terms of instructions, resource allocation and facilities that enable people in the organisation to complete the everyday tasks associated with that software. Supporting materials such as work instructions (text, images, video...), diagrams and product documentation are also implementations. The IMPLEMENT task type of the DEFINE phase describes in more detail what implementations are.

The Definition of Done is a means of finding out whether you have assembled all the deliverables (completed all the tasks) associated with the DEFINE phase.

The subphases of the DEFINE phase are Structure Definition, Rule Definition and Interface Definition:


The three subphases usually follow each other quite rapidly, and typically in many iterations. You are not typically very much aware of an ordering in time (first Structure, then Rules, then Interfaces), unless you embark on completely new work.

The task types of the DEFINE phase are SPECIFY, IMPLEMENT and TEST:


While it is natural to specify something before you implement it, even at this level many iterations are possible. In reality, you will experience less of an ordering in time than you might expect. This is true especially if you choose to do both specifications and implementations and connect them in a typical USoft way (for more information, see the Deliver specifications and implementations in parallel principle). The USoft toolset lets you work on specifications and implementations concurrently. You can even build implementations before you have fully specified them.


Click on a subject to continue:

The Structure Definition subphase

The Rule Definition subphase

The Interface Definition subphase

The SPECIFY task type

The IMPLEMENT task type

The TEST task type


See Also

Introducing the USoft Approach

Principles of the USoft Approach

Phases and subphases in the USoft Approach