Based on the US Department of Defense standard DOD-STD-2167A, we have a well-defined process often referred to as Waterfall. If you are not familiar with the process, here is a short introduction.
A project in the waterfall process goes through four phases before the project is completed.
The first phase is the naÃ¯vite phase. This phase should always last 12, 18 or 24 months. 18 months is recommended. There is a detailed plan showing how, at the end of the phase, the system will be done.
After 18 months and 1 day, the project notices two things: 1) They’re not done, and 2) nobody had imagined this possibility.
This is the introduction to the second phase, which usually is the most frustrating of the project: The Panic phase. The Panic phase always lasts 2 or 6 months. 6 months is recommended. During the panic phase, a new plan is made, and everyone works overtime and weekends.
After 6 months and 1 day, the project notices two things: 1) They’re still not done, and 2) nobody cares anymore.
Thus begins the third phase of the waterfall project: The Sliding phase. At this point in time, nobody cares to update the plan and everyone continues to work, although at a more disillusioned pace. The sliding phase lasts for as long as it lasts, but seldom less than 6 months. Cases of up to 2 years have been documented.
The sliding phase ends when somebody finally puts the foot down, and the project enters the final phase of the waterfall cycle: The iterative phase. At this point in time, the project has usually produced quite a bit of software, but they have no idea of how to finalize it. The project comes up with a plan to deliver the project in increments of no more than 3-6 months, and manages to deliver the project within a year in several increments, thus completing yet another successful waterfall project.