This article gives a detailed overview of the process to run an Open-Xchange implementation project together with the OX Professional Services team.

The phases and decisions are documented here, as well as the documents and tools used to accompany this process.

The following diagram gives a birds-eye view of the whole process:


Initialization Phase / Pre-Sales

The first phase of the project, the "Initialization Phase" is typically the pre-sales cycle to evaluate the product and to evaluate the feasibility of the project as well as to identify potentially necessary customization to integrate into every environment.

At the end of this phase, the results of the evaluation are used to provide a detailed offer and to make the final "Go" / "No-Go" decision.

Typical activities and topics in this phase are as follows:

  • User Interface Demo and Evaluation (webcast or on-site)
  • Architecture Overview
    • Integration into existing customer systems
    • Sizing, Scalability
    • Available APIs, standards and programming languages
    • Branding / Whitelabeling
  • Proof Of Concept Installation (POC) in target environment
  • Technology Transfer / Workshop
    • Using the agenda given below
    • Evaluate existing environment (mailsystem, loadbalancer, storage, provisioning, ..)
    • Results in Customer Implementation Concept
  • Request For Information (RFI) / Request For Quotation (RFQ)

Tools and Results in Initalization Phase

This document containing the "Workshop Agenda" is used to prepare for the initial technical workshop. The goal of the workshop is to get a common understanding of all existing infrastructure systems and the capabilities of the OX product. The preparation document lists all persons/roles, who should attend the workshop as well as the topics, which will be covered within a typical evaluation workshop. The workshop will take 4-6 hours.

The "Basic Statement Of Work (SOW)" describes and offers all OX PS implementation efforts already known and agreed upon at this point in time. In addition this document is the one central document, outlining the whole project. It is used to document the common understanding of the whole project.

It starts with the motivation to run the project and contains all goals and the scope of the whole project. Stakeholders on both sides are defined as well as detailed responsibilities and milestones to measure progress.

All efforts, which are already known at this stage of the project are listed in this document.

This "Customer Implementation Concept" outlines all results from the technical evaluation until this point in time, mainly resulting from the workshop. It contains all results from the initialization phase, as well as all already known topics, to be discussed and analyzed in the future.

This is a "living document" as well in that it is updated during the project to reflect the current state of affairs.

Concept Phase

The "Concept Phase" is the first one, after the joint project has started formally. During this phase, the basic implementation like installation of hardware starts, but most important, all necessary detailed concepts are created and finalized.

During this phase it is decided what exactly will be done by whom and when.

The Customer Implementation Concept from the Initialization phase will be finalized. All tasks to be done by OX PS are documented and offered in (seperate) SOWs.

Typical activities and topics in this phase are as follows:

  • Detail-Workshops for all complex integration topics, to finalize the Concept paper
  • Time Planing and Milestones will be agreed on
  • Resources are planned to define the responsibilities for each task
  • Budget and associated costs are fixed
  • Quality Management and Risk Management starts in this phase

Tools in Concept Phase

  • The Customer Implementation Concept from the first phase will be enhanced and is used as a living document to contain all known and discussed technical details. This document will be used throughout the whole project. So it is a very important source of information not only for implementation, also post-implementation as part of the system documentation.
  • A Requirements Checklist will be introduced in this phase, which is used to track all open topics and issues. All closed topics will be moved to an "archive" to obtain a complete documentation of all project topics, as well as to be used for approval testing.

The "Work Breakdown Structure" is a tree-like view on all known topics "work items" known at the recent point in time. A template, based on OX project experience, is used during the workshops as starting point. Then the WBS will be enhanced in all workshops and discussions to build a tree, which is as complete, as possible.

  • SOWs will be created for all topics, when implementation or customization is requested from the OX team. Each topic will be tracked in on separate SOW, to keep the process as transparent as possible.

Implementation Phase

Within the "Implementation Phase" everything that was planned before will be realized, like the name says. However, in reality there always is an overlap in Concept Phase and Implementation Phase.

Typical activities and topics in this phase are as follows:

  • Installation / Configuration of the live-system
  • Integration into infrastructure
  • Customization, Branding, Theming
  • Documentation
  • Quality Management
  • Change Management
  • Training (Admin, Support, Sales)

Tools in the Implementation Phase

Typically all tools from the former phase will be used to track the implementation process.

Approval Phase

During this last phase in the project, everything that was realized will be verified and approved against the documented requirements. After approval the launch process start, recommended in several steps, beginning with a soft-launch.

Typical activities and topics in this phase are as follows:

  • Testing, manually and automated
  • System- and Configuration Review
  • Soft-Launch
  • Migration
  • Training (Admin, Support, Sales)* Handover to Support
  • Documentation including architecture, setup, test-accounts, etc.
  • Project retrospective
  • Handover to Open-Xchange support


  • Requirements Checklist ... This list produced during the concept phase contains agreed upon and done items. These will be used in this phase to verify the correct implementation of all topics.