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The phase model constitutes the backbone of the project. It structures the project's lifecycle and lays the foundation for a common understanding of all aspects of the project flow, benefitting everyone involved in the project. The HERMES phase model consists of four phases:

 

The project starts in the Initiation phase with the achievement of the Project Initiation Order milestone and finishes at the end of the Deployment phase with the achievement of the Project Closure milestone.

The end of each phase is defined by a milestone focusing on the decision about how to proceed. The milestones correspond to quality gates where the project status and the quality of the project planning and execution can be examined. At the same time, compliance with the strategic objectives and requirements of the core organization are reviewed. Checklists are used to ensure milestones have been reached. These checklists can be customized by adding project-specific criteria. In addition to the milestone at the end of each phase, there are also scenario-specific milestones which constitute additional quality gates, e.g. for architecture or security purposes.

Reporting takes place throughout the phases and milestones, in accordance with the requirements of the core organization in terms of content and frequency.

The phase model also forms the basis for the financial steering of the project. At each phase release, the project sponsor releases the resources (human, financial, or infrastructure) for the next phase.

The phase model makes it easier to coordinate and steer the projects of a program. This is a pre-requisite for the integration of projects into the core organization's project portfolio. It enables projects to be steered at the higher level by the core organization.