Below we have outlined a typical process flow for the evolution of a program, each element defined will have a time critical path. Crucial elements within the process are the external supply chain such as card production, this typically defines the launch date as UAT and end to end testing cannot happen until physical cards are produced.
This process starts post negotiations with the implementation partners you have chosen. An Open Loop program will take in the region of 10-16 weeks. This will depend on the partners used and the time of year work begins, it is always crucial to understand any technical freeze periods from you chosen scheme as these will prevent programs progressing to a "live status" on their respective networks.