In this article, the impact of regulatory changes on software development is assessed in the context of military standards. A previously conducted experiment incorporating three standards is further investigated for this purpose, outlining the characteristics of the evolution in standards and its effects. In addition to this experiment that was designed with projects conducted as graduate class work, a real project from the industry is utilized, to demonstrate the similar effects of the evolution as discovered in the earlier experiment. Finally, the results of the assessment are generalized and a forecast is presented for the next potential regulation change, the IEEE Std 12207-2008. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.