Friday, March 31, 2006

Handling Late Requirements

Many of project issues are related to bad requirements management. One particular
issue which is hard to tackle is the handling of late requirements.

Coping with new requirements after the development has started often leads to problems in the project:
  • schedule, cost and scope of the running project become unknown
  • delays due to unsufficient impact investigation, which may propagate to other projects in the program.
  • rework of finished development
  • quality problems, unsufficient time left for testing
  • lost accountability of the development team
  • drifting morale
Before starting with the implementation of late requirement, do a feasability study including an impact analysis on the cost, schedule, and scope of the project.

The following alternative solutions can be offered for development to handle the late requirements:
  1. Define a separate update release for the late requirements
  2. Leave room in the original plan to handle late requirements
  3. Prioritise requirements, leave some priority 2 requirements out to make room for the new requirements. Apply this technique Only when effort is not too big, ie < 10% project size, and if you have good configuration management practices to take code out again after coding has started.
Late requirements do not have to end with project chaos, they can be handled in a disciplined and controlled way.