DACUM is made up of three phases:

Phase I

In order to determine what curriculum should be covered, a DACUM session involves having DACUM facilitators lead a panel of expert workers through a discussion of what they do in their jobs. Expert workers share out loud the duties and tasks they complete at work. Additionally they share the skills, knowledge, tools and behavior they need to have to survive at their workplace. As the panel shares out loud the various aspects of their jobs, the DACUM facilitators record the information on cards which are arranged in various categories. This information is recorded on a chart. The product of Phase I is a chart (see Sample Charts).

Phase II

In Phase II expert workers meet with managers, instructors, trainers, and curriculum experts to convert the DACUM chart into a curriculum. The session is lead by DACUM facilitators. While the Phase I chart is useful for analyzing a job, it is not in the proper format for curriculum. In Phase II the Phase I chart is rearranged into "instructional units". These "instructional units" can then be used alone or in combination to make up a series of courses. After this has been determined, the scope (number of hours) and sequence (order of classes for a degree or training program) are decided by the group. The product is a rough draft curriculum (see Sample Curriculum).

Phase III

In Phase III, the Phase II Rough Draft Curriculum is converted by instructors, department chairs, deans, and trainers, and training managers into a format that is acceptable to a college curriculum committee or the human resources department for business or industry. Additionally handouts, tests, texts, overheads, Power Point presentations, videos, and other instructional materials may be created. This phase can be done with or without DACUM facilitators. Ideally, the product would be fully enrolled courses that successfully prepare students for their jobs.