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Project Life Cycle

Custom website or web application development projects should go through a series of steps to increase the liklihood of success.  Five Technology deems the process to be critical:

  • Listen and Learn
  • System Architecture
  • User Interface
  • Project Management
  • Implementation
  • Testing & Quality Assurance
  • Go Live!
  • Managed Service

If we follow the process, we maximize the likelihood of an on-time, on-budget, within-scope, delivery.

Project Lifecycle

Listen and Learn

A successful project will start with requirements gathering.  When done well, it is our job to ask questions about your business so that you do most of the talking.  This step allows us to learn about your business and incorporate what we hear into what we design and build.

Listen and Learn is the phase of the project where we talk big picture ideas and get everything on the table.  It's important that we know your business goals even if the current project is only starting off a small part of the end goal.

System Architecture

Now that we have gathered most of the intelligence we'll need, it is time to design, or map out a solution.  Depending on the complexity of the project, you can expect a variety of deliverables in this phase.

  • Knowledge of your current process will help us provide updated process flowcharts, wire frames, admin prototypes, and other reference documents that help communicate application needs.
  • If 3rd party applications are involved, we'll need to look for available APIs that will allow us to easily pass data back and forth with those systems.
  • A plan for host management by answering questions like bandwidth requirements, # of users, processing power, memory needed, data storage, mobile accessibility, etc.
  • Since we'll be using a database to store all your data, we'll need to map out what that looks like and how the data is related

By addressing all the system architecture challenges now, the development team will be less likely to encounter surprises during the build.  Attention to detail here will keep projects on time and on budget.

User Interface

A great user interface (UI) is more than what the website or web application looks like, it's how it works.  Simply put, if the user interface is done well, your people will use it.

The challenge in user interface design is to keep it simple stupid (KISS) while still providing the functionality needed to get the job done.  If the user interface can anticipate the user's next move, eliminate dead ends, push data to user rather than having to search for it, and automate tedious tasks, then it is well on it's way to being a great UI.

Project Management

The project manager is the glue for the project, and is actively involved in all the project phases outlined above.  A good project manager will:

  • Communicate expectations, timelines, scope requirements, as well as questions and concerns
  • Keep the project on budget
  • Be the bridge between the Five Technology team and your team
  • Schedule and conduct meetings and phone calls as needed
  • Communicate daily and weekly status updates as needed
  • Ensure the design, development, and QA teams stay on schedule

The project manager is a communicator who's job requires them to keep both parties in the know. While not an easy, an effective project manager can be the difference between a fun, successful project and a project that fails.


Much has to happen before the project gets to the developers, but this is where the fun begins.  During the implementation phase the technical design and user interface documentation is passed to the programmers who will write the code.

Without getting into too much detail, the developers will focus on three areas.

  • Data structure or the layout of the underlying database that will store all the application data
  • User interface and design requirements transition from design concept to working prototype
  • Functionality will provide the brains or intelligence built into the website application

If the proceeding project phases were done well and all expectations have been communicated, the implementation should flow nicely.

Testing & Quality Assurance (QA)

The time has come to run the application through the quality assurance (QA) department.  This phase is cyclical, in that QA will find bugs or missing parts and pass them back to the programmers/developers.  Once the fix is made, the testing can be conducted again to ensure everything looks and functions as intended.

Testing and QA is a great way to get both teams working on the project.  Not only can this help to reduce project costs, but both Five and the client get a chance to interact with the system before it is released to the masses.

Go Live!

There is more to do than flipping a switch in the Go Live! process.  If fact, Five has a "Go Live List" that contains several items that require attention.

A subset of items you might find on that list:

  • DNS administration as well as other domain specific management
  • Transfer all files, documents, code, classes, server packages, etc. to the production server
  • Legacy data import
  • Redirects from legacy system, if applicable
  • Training
  • Beta user group testing

Managed Service

Upon going live, the evolution of a living, breathing, part of your organization has just begun.  You have invested a lot of time and money into a system, and managed services is a means to protect this investment.

Technology changes rapidly.  What was cutting edge a year ago is depracated today.  These technology trends will affect the custom application, so you'll need a dedicated team to keep things current.

As part of your managed services agreement we focus on 3 objectives:

  • Process to pro-actively manage day-to-day utility sevices required to operate successfully, such as web servers, hosting infrastructure (bandwidth, memory, storage, processing power, etc.).
  • Plan for emergency support.  When something breaks (and it will), what is the response process.
  • What is the process to add or improve the application?  As business requirements and/or technology changes your application will need to evolve right with it.

Managed services not only protects the initial investment you made, it is the conduit to keeping everything operational and current with today's requirements.