Development life cycle for SharePoint projects

By - February 10, 2015

SharePoint Projects have unique requirements. A traditional software development life cycle does not work very well for SharePoint projects. This is a summary of my experience with the development life cycle that has been experienced with many clients and projects delivered in last 10 years.

The entire project can be divided into major phases as follows:

1. Discovery
2. Planning/architecture/design/documentation
3. UI/UX design
4. Environment build
5. Development
6. Content population/testing
7. Go live

1. Discovery

The discovery phase is the face to face interaction with the client to understand their requirements in detail. It must be used to analyze the main business process discovery, users and roles and scope definition. The deliverables in this phase are the business process, users, roles and scope definition.

 2. Planning/architecture/design/documentation

This phase is crucial as it builds on the results of the discovery phase. Information architecture, environment and logical architecture, governance with practical approach, search design, and content migration plan (if necessary), training and education plan must be analyzed and documented in this phase. The deliverables from this phase are information architecture, environment and logical architecture, governance plan, search design, content migration design, training and education plan.

3. UI/UX design

This is to design the branding as well as the look and feel of the SharePoint site.This phase can range from a small to very large complexity and effort based on the client’s requirements for the UI / UX design. The major deliverables from this phase are UI / UX Design with wireframes, mockups, navigation, and style guide.

4. Environment build

This phase is to start building the environments based on environment and logical architecture in the planning/architecture/design/documentation phase. The solution containing the information architecture (site columns, content types, document libraries, and sites etc.) and any other custom solution will be required to be deployed in different environments during this phase. The number of environments can vary depending on the project and client requirements. A minimum of 2 environments is always required, a development and a production environment.

5. Content population

This Phase is to start populating the content starting from the dev environment and testing it. The communication plan to all the stakeholders and end users is executed during this phase as well. Depending on the project and client requirements, content deployment of just the data can be scheduled from staging environment to production or whatever is the best for the project.  This phase can be divided into multiple sprints depending on the size of the content.

6. Go live

After executing the final test in production, the date to go live can be scheduled. The deliverable from this phase is the project closure including the lessons learnt in all the phases above.

To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact McGladrey’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us


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