The aim of the Foundations phase is to establish a firm base for the project. There are three perspectives that need to be focussed on, the business, the solution and the management .
The Business objectives are to baseline, at a high level, the overall requirements for the project and describe their priority and relevance to the business need. This enables the Business Case to be detailed for the project.
The Solution objectives are to state any business processes that are to be supported and to identify any information that will be used, created and updated by the proposed solution. Any strategies for deployment and technical implementation standards need to be described. These contribute to assuring the appropriate level of quality is understood. It may also be possible to start designing the solution architecture and identifying physical or infrastructure elements.
The Management Objectives are to establish appropriate governance and organization for the project. The solution development lifecycle and any techniques to be applied for managing project and communicating progress are described. A schedule for development and deployment activities is produced and baselined. Any identified project risks are described, assessed and mitigation planned.
These three perspectives are used to assess the continuing viability of the project. It is possible that, during this phase, as more is understood about the project it becomes evident there isn’t sufficient viability and a decision is taken not to continue with the project.
The Business perspective is covered by the Business Visionary, the Solution perspective by the Business Visionary and Technical Coordinator and the Management perspective by the Project Manager.
The Foundations phase is complete when enough detail is defined to enable a move into the Exploration Phase to begin product development. “Enough”, can vary from organization to organization. If a project is part of a large complex programme, with complex architectural constraints and third party suppliers, it will need stronger design up front than a small internal project delivering a product into an existing framework. Typically Foundations would be about two weeks duration for a three month project.