XLC Phases

The XLC merges the individual phases of earlier life cycle processes into five phases that capture the different complexities of work and key reviews.

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During the Initiation, Concept, and Planning Phase, the business owner of an IT solution identifies what the project is intended to do, and presents the plans for achieving the business goals and objectives.  The business owner also creates/verifies or updates the Acquisition Strategy during this phase and throughout the life cycle. The activities of this phase include:

  • Complete an IT Intake Request Form
  • Identify significant assumptions and constraints, and explore alternatives
  • Identify project goals, objectives, risks, and clear and measurable success factors
  • Develop the architectural framework and high-level content
  • Approve the project based on evidence that the business needs will be met, and the solution will conform to the Technical Reference Architecture
  • Analyze how the project will be managed, culminating in the Project Management Plan.


The outcomes of the Initiation, Concept, and Planning Phase include:

  • Establish the project’s feasibility, viability, and alignment with program objectives
  • Identify project complexity level
  • Approve all relevant artifacts
  • Complete project planning artifacts, including refinement of Project Management Plan, project schedule, and Project Process Agreement baselines



During the Requirements Analysis and Design Phase, a common set of business rules are refined and the business requirements are validated and broken down into functional and non-functional requirements.  The requirements are used to 1) define the design in detail, including inputs, processes, outputs, and interfaces, and 2) permit further detailed project management planning. In this phase initial traceability is started between requirements, design, and solution testing.  Requirements need to be testable to facilitate system acceptance later in the life cycle.

  • Detailed specifications are developed to support the IT solution that fulfills the requirements for a particular release.
  • The requirements and logical description of the entities, relationships, and attributes of the data are defined and allocated into system and data design specifications.  These design specifications are organized in a way suitable for implementation and testing within the constraints of a physical environment (e.g., computer, database, and infrastructure).


The outcomes of the Requirements Analysis and Design Phase include:

  • Baselined business, functional, and non-functional requirements for release
  • Baselined design for the release system components, services, data, security, and infrastructure
  • Common repository of business rules, for use by the shared services and all relevant stakeholders.



 During the Development and Test Phase, the detailed requirements and design information documented in the previous phase are transformed into machine-executable form and tested.

  • The detailed requirements and design information are verified and validated so that all of the individual system components (and data) of the IT solution function correctly and interface properly with other components within the system. 
  • System hardware, networking, telecommunications and security equipment, and Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS)/Government Off-the-Shelf (GOTS) software are configured. 
  • New custom-software business applications and services are developed, database(s) are built, and software components are integrated. 
  • Test data and test case specifications are finalized, and tests are conducted for individual components, integration, and end-to-end functionality from end-consumer to all systems and back, testing all federal and state agencies, as appropriate, to ensure accurate functionality and data. 
  • Tests verify and validate that the IT solution fulfills all business, functional, and non-functional requirements for the release. 
  • IT solution system components, data, and infrastructure are migrated from a Development environment to a Development Test environment to Pre-Production Test environment. 
  • The IT solution undergoes full integration, security, and stress testing in the Pre-production environment.
  • All system deployment and configuration management activities are executed as a dry run during this phase, including data conversion


The outcomes of the Development and Test phase include:

  • Baselined and executable software, infrastructure, and database configuration specifications, and test results.
  • IT solution deliverables (executable software, data, configuration files, and documentation) are ready for deployment to the Production environment, and the IT solution is ready for operation.



During the Implementation Phase:

  • A further level of testing is conducted in a close to production environment.
  • Includes user training for operating and maintaining the IT solution.
  • The IT solution is put into production based on Authority to Operate (ATO).  The final IT solution must receive an Authority to Operate (ATO) before deployment to the Production environment.


 The IT solution must receive an ATO.



 In the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Phase, the IT solution's system components, data, and infrastructure are maintained in the production environment and monitored to ensure they continue to meet business needs.

  • The first review performed about six months after entering production  is called a Post Implementation Review (PIR). PIR focuses on lessons learned during the development and implementation of the solution.  
  • All investments with operational systems undergo an Annual Operational Assessment (AOA).
  • When a system no longer meets a business need, a Disposition Plan is presented at a Disposition Review (DR) and the system is subsequently retired in accordance with the approved plan. A DR ensures correct and complete plans are in place to ensure the system is completely transitioned and properly disposed.


The outcomes of the Operations and Maintenance Phase are that all IT solutions continue to meet business needs safely and securely. Once a solution is deemed obsolete, it is retired and disposed without impacting other operations.

Page Last Modified:
08/08/2019 02:56 PM