Agile Project Management Frameworks–Agile Unified Process (AUP)

in Chapter 2 “Introducing Agile Project Management” of his book “PMI-ACP Exam Prep PLUS Desk Reference,” John Stenbeck describes three of the most widely used frameworks for agile project management methodology, namely Scrum, Extreme Programming (XP), and Lean Software Development (LSD), because they are covered in the PMI-ACP exam.   In the next section on “Other Frameworks”, he includes frameworks which have smaller market share in the agile world, but which he thinks are nonetheless worthwhile knowing because of their features.

This post covers the second of these other frameworks, Agile Unified Process or AUP, which is a simplified version of the Rational Unified Process or RUP created by the Rational Software Corporation, a division of IBM.   It is an ornate framework because it specifies many activities and artifacts for each process.   It accounted for only 1% of all Agile methodologies used, and development of AUP ceased when it was superceded in 2012 by DIsciplined Agile Delivery.

1. AUP History

  • 2000–Scott Ambler and Larry Constantine write a collection of books that became the foundation of Unified Process (UP), which later developed into Rational Unified Process
  • 2000-2003–IBM subsidiary Rational Software corporations develops UP into Rational Unified Process
  • 2006–IBM tailors RUP to agile projects and creates Agile Unified Process (AUP)
  • 2012–AUP is superceded by Disciplined Agile Delivery

2. Six Philosophies behind AUP

  1. Competence–the team doesn’t read detailed process documentation, but knows what it is doing and only requires high-level guidance
  2. Simplicity–describes things concisely on a few pages
  3. Agility–AUP conforms to the values and principles of the Agile Alliance
  4. Activity–Focus on only high-value activities that count
  5. Tools–Simple tools are often the best, so AUP is independent of any toolset; it only requires that the tools be used that are best suited to the job
  6. Tailor–AUP works best when tailored to the needs defined by the context.

An additional philosophy not listed above relates to risk management:  AUP prefers that high-risk elements be prioritized early to development.

3.  Four Phases of AUP

  1. Inception–cultivates a shared understanding of the project scope and defines architectural choices
  2. Elaboration–develops understanding of the system into requirements and validates architectural choices
  3. Construction–occurs until system development is completed
  4. Transition–testing and system deployment to production

4.  Two Types of Iteration

  1. Development release iteration–reaches the Transition milestone when it is deployed to a non-production environment (e.g., quality-assurance and testing environments)
  2. Production release iteration–reaches the Transition milestone when it is deployed to the production environment

5.  Seven Disciplines of AUP

  1. Model–use to represent the organization’s business approach, the problem domain, and any viable solution to solve the problem
  2. Implement–code the model(s) into executable code and perform unit testing
  3. Test–apply additional tests to find defects, validate the system design works, verify the requirements are satisfied, and ensure code quality
  4. Deploy–plan and deliver the system for end users
  5. Configuration Management–control all project artifacts, including version tracking and change management
  6. Project Management–Provide project management, including management of scope, resources, risk and progress, and coordinate external interfaces to achieve completion on time and on budget.
  7. Environment–provide process guidance standards and ensure needed tools are available for the team

The next blog post is on Crystal, which is actually a family of frameworks based on project size and criticality.


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