The service lifecycle defines how services mature from an initial concept through to production and are eventually decommissioned. At each stage of the lifecycle, there can be different performance and reliability expectations, and different activities need to occur.
In discovery, a service contract has been written that proposes answering some hypothetical user needs. Still, the goal of the phase is to understand the problem that needs to be solved and refine the service contract before entering the alpha phase.
In this phase, the user needs that the service meets should be tested with the consumers of the future service to determine if it is a problem worth solving.
In the discovery phase, none of the user’s needs of the contract is ever met.
For more information, see the GDS documentation on discovery.
When a service is in its alpha phase, it tries to solve the problem established in the service contract. In the alpha phase, potential implementations are being tested and validated to understand the most suitable approach. At the end of the alpha phase, the interface a service presents to the world is considered and established, which will allow the service contract to be refined before entering the beta phase.
In the alpha phase, some of the user needs will be met some of the time.
For more information, see the GDS documentation on alpha.
A service in its beta phase is actively built to serve a set of user needs identified in discovery. In the beta phase, an approach selected in the alpha phase is adopted, and the focus becomes the implementation and delivery of the service. Preparations to operate the service as if it were live will be underway.
In the beta phase, some of the user needs are expected to be met most of the time.
For more information, see the GDS documentation on beta.
A live service is actively being used by the users whose needs the service is designed to address. The service needs to meet its user needs, its operational goals and improve itself over time - either by meeting the needs of its users more effectively or by making the mechanism by which it meets those needs more efficiently. Eventually, the service will be decommissioned, and the service should publish consideration of how users might migrate away from it.
In the live phase, all of the user needs are expected to be met all of the time.
For more information, see the GDS documentation on live.
A decommissioned service is no longer operating. The reasons for its decommissioning should be recorded in its service contract to ensure that the organisation doesn’t forget lessons that it may have learned from operating it.
For more information, see the GDS documentation on retiring a service.