Develop a Requirements Management Plan, the Right Way

Develop a Requirements Management Plan the right way, every time.  Seriously. Stop playing around with a piece meal collection of project management templates. Don’t grab a Requirements Management Plan template without knowing that it’s designed to work with your Scope Management Plan, which is designed to work with your Project Management Plan. 

Follow along and you’ll understand why. This guide is authored by a PMP certified project manager. It includes the well-drafted templates you need and the good-practice tips to develop a Requirements Management Plan, the right way. Once you understand the right way to develop the Plan, you’ll have the tools and knowledge you need to do it again and again.

What is a Requirements Management Plan?

A Requirements Management Plan is a subsidiary management plan that supports the Scope Management Plan. As a subsidiary management plan, it is a part of the Project Management Plan. It describes how requirements will be analyzed, documented, and managed throughout the project life cycle.

What is a Project Requirement?

A project requirement is something that must be present in a product, service, or result. It must be present because it satisfies a business need.

What is the Purpose of a Requirements Management Plan?

The purpose of a Requirements Management Plan is to ensure all requirements will analyzed, documented, and managed in support of project success.

What is the Value of a Requirements Management Plan?

Requirements are often gathered from numerous sources and can be complex to manage. They affect the scope of work, the project budget, the schedule, risk, and more. Left unmanaged, they can derail a project.

For example, in a construction project for a restaurant client, consider the client’s business need for a commercial kitchen. Assume the client specifies a requirement for four light fixtures in the kitchen. This requirement comes directly from the customer and is rather straight-forward, right?

Because the ability to operate five workstations is also a requirement of the client, additional lighting requirements are implied. Some will be based on needs at each workstation. For example, a light fixture may need placed above each of the five workstations. The total amount of light fixtures; however, may not be bright enough to light the entire kitchen. So, additional lights may need added. This means the required number of light fixtures has changed. 

Besides altering the existing requirement of four light fixtures, another requirement may be implied. For example, the electrical code may specify that the additional light fixtures necessitate two circuits instead of one. Now, we have a changed requirement and a new requirement.

By managing these requirements, we have the information needed to consider the impact to the project budget and schedule. If appropriate, we can make requests for change. 

What are the Requirements Management Processes?

The requirements management processes are:

  1. Determine problems and identify business needs.
  2. Identify and recommend viable solutions for meeting those needs.
  3. Elicit, document, and manage requirements to meet business and project objectives.
  4. Facilitate the implementation of the product, service, or result of the project.

How Do You Develop a Requirements Management Plan?

You develop a Requirements Management Plan by implementing the following 11 steps:

  1. Secure a well-considered Requirements Management Plan template.
  2. Identify roles and responsibilities, as they pertain to requirements management.
  3. Identify the project management approach.
  4. Identify the requirements.
  5. Log the requirements.
  6. Analyze, categorize, prioritize, and quantify the requirements.
  7. Approve project requirements.
  8. Trace requirements.
  9. Validate requirements.
  10. Identify assumptions, issues, and risks as they pertain to procurement management.
  11. Obtain Plan approval.

Step 1. Secure a Well-Considered Requirements Management Plan template

Begin by selecting the right tool for the job. Secure a well-considered Requirements Management Plan. The best template aligns with commonly recognized good practices in project management. Further, it works with your Scope Management Plan template which works with your Project Management Plan template. By starting with templates that are designed to fit together, you are better positioned to avoid gaps in project planning.

(At the bottom of this post, you will find links to a collection of well-considered Project Management templates and the Requirements Management Plan template. They are all designed to work together.)

The best templates align with good practices in project management, and they are designed to work together.

Step 2. Identify Roles and Define Responsibilities

Identify the roles and define the responsibilities of those who will perform requirements management activities. As you begin planning, involve project stakeholders. By involving others, you may receive insight and better buy-in for the project.

Involve others in planning requirements management.

Step 3. Identify the Management Approach

It’s important to identify the management approach because it affects how requirements will be managed. On some projects, all requirements will be known and approved of prior to the start of project work. On other projects, this rigid approach would be disastrous. 

The management approach affects how requirements will be managed.

Step 4. Identify the Requirements

Your Requirements Management Plan should specify the sources from which requirements will be identified and collected. Examples may include: the project charter, codes, statutes, the purchase contract, stakeholders, user documentation, and so on. 

Step 5. Log the Requirements

Once identified, it’s a good practice to log all requirements in one location. We prefer logging them on a separate project document called a Requirements Register. (We link to one at the end of this post.)

Step 6. Analyze, Categorize, Prioritize, and Quantify the Requirements

Identify how requirements will be analyzed. For example, describe what happens when a requirement is too vague or too broad to process. Describe how conflicting requirements are resolved.

Identify the person(s) who will perform requirements analysis. Also, identify the person(s) who will ensure that each requirement is written clearly and completely.

If requirements will be categorized, determine the categories. (E.g., business requirements, functional requirements, technical requirements, etc.)

Document how the requirements will become prioritized and the persons responsible for making the priority determinations. Describe what happens to requirements, based on their priority assignments. For example, is the work regarding the highest priority requirements executed by a specific individual?

Next, quantify the requirements. Each requirement must be actionable, measurable, and testable. Requirements must also be decomposed to a level of detail that is sufficient for performing the work. Identify who will quantify the requirements and who will define the acceptance criteria. Describe the tools and techniques that be used to develop requirements so that they are fully understood.

Each requirement must be actionable, measurable, and testable.

Step 7. Approve Project Requirements

Before requirements are added to the Requirements Traceability Matrix, they must be approved. Describe the process for approving the requirements. Also, describe the processes for rejecting and deleting requirements. Identify the person(s) with the authority to approve, reject, and delete requirements.

Step 8. Trace Requirements

Requirements that survive analysis and receive approval will be added to the Requirements Traceability Matrix and traced through to project completion, from their source to the deliverable. (At the end of this post, we link to a collection of templates that includes the Requirements Traceability Matrix template.)

Step 9. Validate Requirements

Identify who will review deliverables to determine whether they meet acceptance criteria. Identify who will present the deliverables and identify the person with authority to accept the deliverables. Further, describe the acceptance process and what describe what happens if the deliverables are rejected.

Step 10. Identify Assumptions, Issues, and Risks 

As you plan requirements management, you may identify assumptions, issues, and risks. Document them as you identify them. Later, record or transfer them to the appropriate locations. (E.g., risk management plan)

Step 11. Obtain Plan Approval

Usually, the Project Sponsor formally approves the Requirements Management Plan. Our template includes a section to obtain the Approver’s signature. 

Which Project Documents Should be Included in a Requirements Management Plan?

Once the Requirements Management Plan is approved, it cannot be changed without submitting to the change request process. Where project documents are included in the Plan, they too become approved. So, include those project documents that will be used while managing requirements. At minimum, consider including the following forms or templates:

  1. Requirements Register
  2. Requirements Traceability Matrix

What is the Best Template for Drafting a Requirements Management Plan?

The best template for drafting a Requirements Management Plan is one that aligns with widely recognized good practices in project management. It’s also one that is designed to work with the Scope Management Plan and Project Management Plan.

 “The Practitioner’s Book of Project Management Templates” is an e-book that will guide you in implementing good practices in project management. It contains 86 editable templates that are designed to work together toward development of a comprehensive Project Management Plan. In it, you will find what we think is the best template for drafting a Requirements Management Plan. It also includes templates for the project documents listed immediately above.

Start Planning Now

Ready to begin planning requirements management? Download our e-book and get started. It includes the Requirements Management Plan template, numerous other subsidiary management plan templates, project document templates, and a comprehensive Project Management Plan template. It has the templates you need for effective project planning.

Need the Requirements Management Plan template only. Here’s a link to it, too.