I am looking for some logical explanation of how software development fits into a Plan, Build, Run model of an organization.

I am struggling to find anything which explains how software development projects fit into this structure. In fact the body of writing appears to be over all very small on PBR.

What I do see is something called COBIT from isaca which has 3 stages internally called plan build run. Is this the source of that terminology?

I'm looking for some clear where things go, why things go there, and what value that has.

I know this may seem a little off topic, but it seemed best under the "lifecycle"

  • 4
    I am looking for some logical explanation of how software development fits into a Plan, Build, Run model of an organization. -- This article says that it doesn't. Feb 22, 2017 at 16:23
  • @RobertHarvey great article. If you wrap it up in an answer I'll upvote !
    – Christophe
    Feb 22, 2017 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


In the old dark ages, software was build using the famous waterfall approach: plan, analyse requirements, design system, build system, test system and run system.

This goes back in the fifties, in a time where this separation of duties and the specialisation of tasks was a strong reality in a Tayloristic environment.

I think that there is the origin of the plan, build, run concept, long before COBIT and IASCA. Some clever consultant just let the detailed stages out, to make it easy to grasp for non-technical managers and auditors.

Nowadays, big consulting firm continue to sell the idea as a proven path to success.

However, everyone who was involved in real software development knows, that you can't plan all the details from scratch, and that you need some degree of flexibility in order to cope with uncertainty. This is why agile is so popular today. Adaptative and iterative planning goes along with development. And the growing popularity and success of DevOps proves that it's better to integrate development (build) and operations (run).

Look at project management itself. PMBOK explains that complex projects require progressive elaboration. PMBOK and ISO21500 both see planning not as a phase (as in plan/buil/run) but as a set of processes carried out throughout the project.

With this in mind, how can Plan/build/run be implemented ? Project managers in a plan department, loosing gradually understanding of technology and buisness ? Developpers in a build department who are required to go through plan to organize their work ? And after go live, the same developpers do no longer intervene in support (despite they know system best), because support is run and not build ?

In my personal life I witnessed such transformation, and the end result is that it's difficult to get projects done, and there was a huge overhead of interdepartmental communication, when the same people delivered efficiently as an integrated team before the plan/build/run organization.

  • Thank you for the reply! What I am struggling with is perhaps organizations understand the models wrong. PBR where plan = project management and architecture seems to not even match up with the limited articles. It makes sense to me to have a dedicated plan team which is focused or technical and business strategies. Where is the market / customer going. A dedicated support org (help desk, infrastructure backups etc) makes some sense since those resources could be shared easily. It seems like it could work, as long as agile teams still were in run, and had all the roles necessary. Do you agree? Feb 23, 2017 at 5:58
  • @AdmiralAdama yes. I agree with the idea of dedicated support teams: these force to make proper handover and shield developpers from disturbances on their main task. But a plan department that think of architecture and is not involved sufficiently in business activities and needs (which are elicited in projects) is too far away from business to recognize hidden opportunities. Perhaps that with a communicative mindset and a consulting approach it may work. But i think there's a high risk of ivory tower syndrom there.
    – Christophe
    Feb 23, 2017 at 8:52
  • I agree @Christophe. Thank you. I'm not really advocating for this model. Just trying to see if I can make it work. Feb 23, 2017 at 14:57

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