Resource Index > Project Management Activities > Requirements and Change Management

Requirements and Change Management

From the first "back of the envelope" vision until the day the product or system is retired, changing markets, customer expectations, and technology advances create a constantly moving target for product requirements. Development project teams must balance the demands of these requirements and realities of emerging design. Here, we have collected our favorite resources and references for teams looking to survive and thrive in the constant whirlwind of project changes and still get a good project result.

This is only a partial collection; see our full list of requirements and change management templates for more.

If you're looking for resources on handling change management from a communication perspective, check out our project communication know-how.

How can we help you manage project requirements and changes?

Examples of Requirements Documents and Change Processes
These resources illustrate tools and techniques successful teams have used to manage the constant flurry of project issues and change pressures, and to dynamically manage those changes without upending the project or burying the team in paperwork.

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  • IT Project Request for Proposal
    A detailed, boilerplate template for an IT Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted by an Australian IT project manager. Color-coding separates pre-approved legalese from project-specific clauses, and File Properties are used as text fields to automatically include some high level project information and contacts.
  • Software Requirements Specification
    Format for a Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document for a particular module or subsystem of software.
  • High-Speed Conflict and Scope Creep
    This case study explores an "extreme" project conducted in a strained atmosphere, where a dysfunctional team still managed to correct a critical business issue in just nine days.
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These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • New System Request for Proposal (RFP) Outline
    A comprehensive RFP template for new systems proposal requests, along with guidelines for RFP success and detailed annotations. Customize this template to fit your software system or co-development project and shave weeks off your RFP selection time.
  • RFP for Training Program Development
    A comprehensive RFP will help you gain clarity and alignment on the real goals of your training program, and will make sifting through offerings and choosing an appropriate vendor easier on your selection committee.
  • Change Control Form
    A form for requesting and documenting changes to the project (e.g. adding new features) or to elements within the project (such as changing a major spec of a piece of a system, product, or other deliverable). Includes fields for impact of the proposed change on the project timeline, budget etc., and on the components of the project deliverables.
  • Guideline for a Simple Change Control Process
    A simple set of guidelines a team can use to indicate which project documents should be put under project/program level change control and when it should happen. This process was created by an IT organization, but is applicable to any group.
  • Business Requirements Document
    This detailed, annotated outline provides a solid foundation for expressing the true requirements of the project -- as well as the business case and context -- so the development team knows what to go code before they start.
  • Marketing Requirements Document
    Document created by Marketing or Business group or other representatives of "customers" and "users" to express the perceived customer wants and needs for product, system, or service.
  • Product Requirements Specification
    An annotated outline for a Product Requirements Specification. Such a document is created early in a project to define what a product will be designed to do, in response to requests from customers and Marketing.
  • SWOT Analysis
    A review of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats affecting the project can help the team evaluate strategic choices or review potential impacts on processes, solutions, or business entities.
  • Use Case Specification
    This document outline illustrates how to write a complete use case specification in order to capture the specific details of a use case (beyond just the models and diagrams you may have drafted), in order to capture the functional requirements of a system.
  • Recommendation Template
    Craft an organized, well documented recommendation to proceed with a given business solution or alternative. It includes all of the key components needed to make an informed decision about whether or not to endorse or approve the recommendation.
Step-by-Step Guidelines for Requirements Capture and Management
Product development teams are often faced with a continuous battery of change requests. The resources here provide guidelines and tools you can use to dynamically manage all those change requests, keep project deliverables lined up with requirements, and achieve a successful project closure.

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  • Software Requirements Management
    Requirements management doesn't have to break the bank, or the back. Veteran software executive Anita Wotiz outlines the alternatives in this case study.
  • Project Escalation Process Guidelines
    Scope issues, major tradeoff decisions, and serious resource conflicts are all examples of situations that can require escalation to higher management.
  • Leading With Power
    Effective project managers learn to deal with the political aspects of change, rather than being run over by them. This paper discusses approaches PMs can use to manage the politics of change.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • Requirements Change Management Guideline
    If you're not doing impact evaluation and communication, you're not doing change management. This guideline condenses 20 years of lessons learned to provide a complete overview of change management components, processes, and controls.
  • Requirements Workshop Planning Guide
    Detailed tips and a step-by-step guide to planning a requirements workshop designed to elicit and understand a specific set of requirements. Includes extensive suggestions on planning and conducting the workshop and post-meeting follow-up, along with a sample agenda and general meeting facilitation tips.
  • Requirements Management Plan
    A requirements management plan captures the tools the team will use to record and track requirements, reinforces the importance of traceability, and articulates the project's risk management and change control strategies.
  • Requirements Measurement Plan
    It takes clear, unambiguous requirements to guide the team to the right result. Creating a plan to measure the requirements, in addition to the project work, insures you aren't handing off muddy requirements that will cause confusion and rework later in the project.
  • Requirements Interview Checklist
    A requirements interview is a focused interview with a key stakeholder or subject matter expert designed to elicit a specific set of requirements. This checklist is organized into sets of questions you should consider for each interview; important preparation that will increase your credibility and help you make the most of your time with these key resources.
  • Requirements Walkthrough Checklist
    This checklist will help you organize productive, efficient walkthroughs, so your team members can move forward with confidence.
  • Requirements Traceability Guideline
    Tracing your requirements to tests, to code, or to other requirements, can be a complex and time-consuming effort. This guideline discusses traceability processes, requirements, and how to weigh the costs and benefits.
  • Software Requirements Capture Guideline
    Detailed guidelines from an experienced software development executive intent on capturing all necessary requirements, documenting them thoroughly, and ensuring they are well understood. Be sure you're actually building the right thing -- and be sure everyone else is sure, too.
  • Configuration Management Plan
    Few things will derail a project faster or more expensively than teams operating from two conflicting design versions or outdated documentation. A Configuration Management Plan attempts to avoid lost time and expensive rework by documenting procedures the project team will use to control critical components of their project's "products" -- hardware, software, documentation, written products, etc.
  • Guideline: Conducting a Gap Analysis
    A gap analysis will help you figure out where there is, where here is, and how best to bridge any gaps between them.

    Burning Questions
    How can we be prepared for requirements changes before they happen?

    When should I start formal change control on our project?

    Find more answers to Burning Questions on Change Control and Project Requirements.
Other Options
  • Our Change control book list contains several good references on this topic.
  • Software Requirements Capture and Management Bundle
    Covering customer needs, project-level requirements, and specifications documents, the tools in this bundle help your team thoroughly think through and communicate what the project needs to create. Guidelines are included for capturing different levels of requirements, managing and controlling changes, and vendor requirements formats (Requests for Proposals).
Typical Requirements Change Issues and Answers to Common Questions
Inevitably, someone interested in the project will produce a change request you can't refuse, or request a change you have to refuse. These problem solvers and tools will help you prepare for and manage frustrations among staff, management, customers, and stakeholders when the inevitable happens.

For Guests
These resources are available to everyone, no login required.
For Members
These resources are free to registered members. Register or login for access.
  • Handling the Endgame of a Project
    Even the best-planned projects often end up in a painful endgame. This in-the-trenches look at the late stages of a project discusses some of the breakdowns and crises that occur and offers some tips, tools, and advice on how to deal with them.
  • How an IT Team Broke Free From the Requirements Morass
    What do you do when your team is six months into a 9-month project and they are still gathering requirements? This case study explains how a team broke free from a requirements gathering process that had become a barrier to project progress.
For Subscribers
These resources are for Premium subscribers. Subscribe to get access, or find out more about our free trial for new subscribers.
  • Business Rules Management Guideline
    Business rules are an important part of the requirements package, but they can be challenging to write, manage, and maintain without a rules repository. This guideline is designed to help you develop your own approach, by providing some basic guidance on business rules and tips for rules organization, management, and change control.
  • Root Cause Analysis Checklist
    Are you sure you've found the problem, and not just another symptom? Taking a methodical approach to a search for the root cause takes time at first, but saves time, effort, and probably money down the road.
  • Agile Technique Brief: Requirements Cards
    Agile methodologies like Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP) often build on "user stories" as a way of capturing and tracking feature requirements. This brief explains how to use the technique -- referred to here as requirements cards in order to widen the horizon to customers and stakeholders.
  • Project Alternatives Tradeoff Table
    Use this template to cut through all the complex decisions that can plague the front end of a project. Getting it all onto a page or two can really help a cross-functional team reach agreement on a reasonable scope that meets most important customer requirements.
  • Late Cost Per Week Worksheet
    This simple worksheet will help your team calculate and communicate the financial impact to the organization if your project slips by a week… or two weeks… or more.
  • Impact Analysis
    When considering a project change or a particular solution, or choosing between multiple possible solutions, it helps to have a thorough understanding of how each option will impact business areas, systems, and external organizations.

    Burning Questions
    Our project is running late, but one of the executives keeps asking developers to add new features or make changes to things we thought were finished. How can we control the project requirements without alienating a powerful stakeholder?

    Find more answers to
    Burning Questions on Change Control and Project Requirements.
Other Options
  • Our Change control book list contains several good references on this topic.
  • Planning the Project When Things are Uncertain, a mini-course with Mike Aucoin
    Spiral development, time-boxing, and other iterative methods can help your team close in on the project's end point even when it's lost in the fog of risk and uncertainty. This session explores these iterative methods, so you and your team can face uncertainty with confidence. 1 PDU.
  • Stopping the Endless Requirements Gathering, a mini-course with Cinda Voegtli
    This session explores how to engage your customers with a few powerful tools and a mutual quest to identify what matters most, to help any project stay out of or get out of a schedule-killing requirements gathering morass. 1 PDU.

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