What is the Rational Unified Process? - Methodology, Tools & Examples

Instructor: Olga Bugajenko

Olga is a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner and has a master's degree in project management.

How to successfully apply the Rational Unified Process to software development processes? In this lesson, you will learn about four phases of RUP and its supporting tools.

What is RUP?

Rational Unified Process (RUP) is an agile software development methodology. RUP splits the project life cycle into four phases. During each of the phases, all six core development disciplines take place - business modelling, requirements, analysis and design, implementation, testing and deployment. However, certain processes are more important and take up more time during every stage. For example, business modelling mostly takes place during the early phases, inception and elaboration. Each of four phases has the main objective, which has to be completed before the project can progress to the next phase.

The main goal of RUP is to create high quality software with a predictable budget and time frame. Each of the life cycle phases can be repeated, if needed, until the main objectives are met. Once the transition stage is completed successfully, the project is finished.

RUP development framework cycle, also known as RUP hump chart

RUP Example

Pear Inc is a software development company, specializing in mobile phone applications. They are currently working on a new productivity enhancing application, called Get A Kitten, rewarding you with a cute picture of a kitten for every completed task from your to-do list. Pear Inc use RUP as their development framework.

Let's look at activities that Pear Inc team must complete during each of the phases:

  1. Inception - during the inception phase, the initial evaluation is carried out to scope the system and determine whether the project is worth pursuing. A business case is created by Pear Inc, detailing the pricing model for Get A Kitten app and estimating development costs and schedule. An agreement on project scope is reached with all stakeholders. Some of the features may be de-scoped to reduce the development time and costs - for example, a to-do list originally supported three different task types, but will now support only one task time.
  2. Elaboration - during the elaboration, more detailed evaluation is carried out, a development plan is created and key risks are mitigated. Pear Inc team writes 80% of all use cases, creates the system architecture and a development plan.
  3. Construction - during construction, the software system is created - the code is written and tested. A dedicated team of Pear Inc software developers is working on a project. A team of QA is testing the resulting software. The key output of this phase is operational software.
  4. Transition - during transition phase, the software is released to the end user. Pear Inc uploads Get A Kitten app to AppStore. Once the application is accepted, the project is formally closed.

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