Architects are an integral part of project planning. In the built environment, the primary effort of an architect is to design a building. Information architects are part of the initial creative energy needed to design a new interaction. Or, entire systems of interaction within the life cycle of a major product.

      image: visual process map

Every information technology organization has a methodology similar to the image above. The goal of such a process is to avoid the twin extremes of project planning: hasty execution, or delays caused by "analysis paralysis."

That is, planning should occur before implementation (yes, sometimes people do code before the specifications have reached a tolerable level of flux). And, development should begin before every detail has been specified.

The illustration above is merely a visual of the six phases described below. It is meant to convey a simple abstraction of the project process. Indeed, a simple definition is most sensible. The reality of each design effort is unique and will dictate a distinctive approach for every project plan.

Agile development

The current paradigm

The diagram above is relatively simple - and, consequently, does not capture several ideas.

One important concept is that overlap exists across phases. That is, some design work can proceed before all research is complete. User definitions (and, re-definitions) are often a constant thread throughout the life of a project.

And, these phases, often seen as discrete, have components within them that are iterative. They reoccur in light of knowledge that is revealed in subsequent phases.

The sub-pages within this section are suggestions about the types of activities that may occur and documents that may be produced in each phase of a specific project. But, again, each project is unique.

Specific phases

The æolian view

A Summary:

  • Research & Analyze
    Initial phase within the context of an entire ecosystem.
    This is the phase in which Information Architecture begins.
  • Design & Harmonize
    Develop functional requirements in the context of user needs and wants.
  • Prototype
    Develop a preliminary model to be tested by users.
  • Develop
    implementation in robust production environment.
  • Deploy & Refine
    Installation of Release 1.0 – preparations for Release 2.0.
  • Reflect
    Unforeseen opportunities and connections - a moment for learning and recording new insights.