Last minute changes – documentation approach Waterfall project

You are not working in an Agile environment but instead the old waterfall when someone realizes an approach is no longer going to work making parts of what you have documented no longer valid.

Before you rush off and change the documentation, you have to consider the 3 elements of a project:

1 – Quality

2 – Cost

3 – Time

Always remember that if you try to satisfy all 3 elements, you will fail. Below are the approaches to take based on the top element of the project:

Quality Project:

  • Documentation should be changed to match the detail of change. Even though everybody understands it at the time and some people may suggest a note of the change would be enough, in a few months people will complain about the confusion in the document and the note approach runs the risk that the wrong item is implemented.


  • Cost is a difficult one in that it affects quality and time. Usually however the cost of the change in negotiated at the time it is realized, meaning that more money is found or something is removed from the project to save costs. In this case it may be possible to pass on the work to a more junior person (cheaper) – I have even seen High School kids hired to do the work if the rules of the change are simple enough. Of course at the end of the day, the Time approach may be the solution,


  • What is the absolute minimum way to document the change that everybody agrees on. Agreement must be reached by all parties that read the document.

So the next time you have a change, think about the approach if one has not already been established.


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