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Change is a natural process in projects. One of the key activities of a project manager is reacting to changing conditions. However, it takes a lot of efforts to change requirements in a running project. Changing requirements are a major cause for project delays. As a project manager, my life is much easier when this does not happen. So in general, I try to prevent causes for changing requirements to appear.
But especially in long term projects there are some causes for change, which can hardly be prevented. When they appear I believe it is just necessary to change requirements. In such cases avoiding change could be a mistake. Investing the efforts for change most probably will pay out. And in such cases effective requirements change management can limit the risks.
These are the reasons:
Reason 1: The market is changing
Apple’s iPhone changed the mobile phone marked massively. Since 2007 the market shares of “classic” mobile phones rapidly decreased. Nevertheless there is still a market for them, but it changed, too.
Those companies who were able to change their product requirements to serve the new market needs, survived. Others did not or do not sell mobile phones any more.
I found an interesting article about Google’s reaction to the original iPhone in 2007. They decided to change requirements in a running project.
Reason 2: The technology is changing
Some technology which was competitive in the beginning of a project may be outdated at the end. New technologies may generate new options. New technologies may change new interfaces. For sure: new technologies change requirements.
Here is an example from the aviation industry: Boeing was developing the 787 Dreamliner aircraft, using many new technologies. Airbus was pursuing a more conservative concept for its competitive product A350. It turned out that the conservative concept was not competitive any more. Airbus had to change requirements and to redesign the A350 which now is competitive. It was expensive, but it will pay out.
Reason 3: Laws and regulations are changing
Laws and regulations are requirements that cannot be discussed. And they regularly change. Typically this is announced well before the changes becomes active. Long term projects however may be affected by changing laws and regulations.
Just think about emission standards for cars, which become more and more strict. But this is for all manufacturers, so all of them have to change requirements for their engines. For their Diesel engines, some car suppliers decided not meet the requirements in operational use. They paid the price.
Do you know more reasons or examples why it can be unavoidable to change requirements in a project?
Please post your comments right after. Also do not hesitate to contact me.