What Is A Requirements Traceability Matrix?

Requirements Traceability refers to the degree to which it is possible to link a requirement to other requirements, the objectives from which it emanated, the test cases used to verify its implementation as well as the solution components created as a result.

A Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is used for linking product requirements from the time of their identification to their fulfilment. It ensures the delivery of documented requirements as requested by stakeholders. Requirements Traceability Matrices track requirements backwards to their objectives and forward to their deliverables. There are lots of uses and benefits associated with using requirements traceability matrices and they are as follows:

  1. RTMs can be used for managing project scope changes and for assessing the impact of changes. For example, if you know the relationship between two or more requirements, you will be better able to assess the impact of making changes to any of them.

  2. With RTMs, stakeholders can ensure that each requirement is traced back to the objectives of the project and ultimately to solution components.

  3. RTMs also ensure that it is only approved requirements that are delivered at the end of the day – nothing more. Traceability ensures that every requirement can be linked back to a business objective and that no requirement is superfluous.

  4. RTMs can also be used for tracing user requirements and linking them to their test cases. They ensure that all test cases are covered to reduce the probability of missing requirements.

  5. Stakeholder and Solution requirements (functional and non-functional requirements) can easily be linked back to the business requirements from which they emanated using RTMs.

Examples of requirement attributes that can be captured using RTMs are as follows:

  1. Unique Identifier

  2. Textual description of the requirement

  3. Rationale for inclusion

  4. Owner

  5. Source

  6. Priority

  7. Version

  8. Current Status &

  9. Risk

Requirement traceability can be managed using advanced requirements management software tools or simple tools like Microsoft Excel. Effective requirements management involves ensuring that requirements are traceable, which helps to validate that the project team met the requirements as agreed. Though the task may seem arduous at first, the benefits are indisputable for teams who go the extra length to trace their requirements.