First of all one has determine the Domain and Focus of an Ontology. This means which Domain should be covered by the Ontology and what should be the Ontology used for. Moreover one has to think about which Types of Questions should be answered by the Knowledge that is represented within the Ontology. One has of course also to take care of the Users, who will use and maintain the Ontology.
This Process is ended or summed up in the Formulation of Competence Questions.
These Questions might change within the Ontology Life Cycle