What is a “Phase 0” Project?

The AppliedLogix team works with a wide range of clients – from startups to Fortune 50 enterprises. Some of our clients have full-fledged in-house teams of EEs and firmware developers, while others utilize us because electronics isn’t their core business. Some projects arrive with detailed specifications, while others begin as an idea, concept or sketch.

Where the requirements or architecture of a new project are a clean slate, we often recommend completing (what we call) a Phase 0 Project to help define them. During a Phase 0 Project, we collaborate with clients on the features, functions and interfaces of a new electronic device or software application, generating a well-defined set of requirements. We then explore potential architectures and ways of implementing the device, comparing options and evaluating trade-offs.

Reducing Risk, Building Confidence

Engineers are problem solvers – we enjoy exploring the possible solutions to challenging problems. At AppliedLogix, we realize that defining the problem and evaluating the ways to solve it is just as important as the solution’s actual implementation. Phase 0 Projects provide a structure and budget to answer these important questions before diving into implementation. A typical Phase 0 Project includes these steps:

  • Understand the Problem – Collaborate, often in-person or on-site, to define and understand the problem to be solved.
  • Capture the Requirements – Based on a shared understanding of the problem, capture a requirement set that defines what a new device or application must do.
  • Define the Architecture – Capture the components of the system, and the interfaces between them.
  • Analyze Trade-Offs – Perform trade studies to decide on key architectural and design options.
  • Estimate the Project – Update our effort and cost estimation to complete the project with higher confidence, thanks to the improved definition.

If you’re exploring engaging with design services but aren’t sure where to start, a Phase 0 project can be an inexpensive option that provides tremendous value: definition and documentation that can be a key factor for project success going forward.

About the Author:

David Rea is an AppliedLogix senior engineer and partner. He serves as the firm's engineering practice leader for Fuel Cell and Energy applications. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering (BS) and Software Engineering (MS) from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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