Stakeholders judge goal relevance and software-development project requirements differently, considering them from a business versus a personal viewpoint. Three empirical studies provided evidence that stakeholders' personal goals for a system are valued higher than business goals and that, moreover, changes in personal goals lead to significantly more prioritization activity than changes in business goals. In Study 1, police officers expressed their agreement to a list of requirements on a Capacity Management System from a business and a personal viewpoint. We found a 'requirements-analysis rift,' indicating that stakeholders regard requirements as business-related, agreeing with them even if these requirements do not match their personal goals. In Study 2, science students rank-ordered the same list of requirements on an e-learning environment from a university and a personal perspective. In Study 3, we conducted a similar study with a sample of financial consultants. The latter two studies revealed that, when personal goals changed, prioritization shifts were stronger than when business goals changed. In addition, we suggest a method using the Spearman rho statistic to calculate changes in requirements prioritization under different conditions of goal change. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.