Manage your project scope well with the Requirements Traceability Matrix

Manage your project scope well with the Requirements Traceability Matrix

A clear definition of requirements and an effective requirements management plan are essential for project execution. But, it is equally crucial to put in place processes to trace the achievement of these requirements. Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is the process in project management that helps you achieve this.  

How do you define the requirements traceability matrix? 

Requirements traceability is a sub-process of requirements management. It is a process of linking each requirement to a test case or baseline to track its achievement. You must use RTM to track the status of project requirements and defined outcomes. 

What are the types of requirements traceability matrix?

There are three types of requirements traceability matrix:

Forward traceability

It maps the requirements of a project to the test cases. This ensures to check whether you have achieved each requirement or not. You can find out if there is any missing requirement with the forward traceability.

Backward traceability

It maps the test cases to the project requirements. You can check whether each test case can be associated with the original requirements of the project. Thus, it ensures that you have not exceeded the scope of the project by adding more features or functionalities.

Bi-directional traceability

It is also called forward + backward traceability. It traces each requirement to the test cases as well as maps each test case to the requirements. It is useful to check the impact due to changes in requirements.

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Why is the requirements traceability matrix important?

Requirements traceability matrix is important because of the following reasons:

The linkage between requirement and deliverable

Requirements traceability matrix forms a linkage between each requirement and a feature/functionality of the deliverable. While tracking this linkage, you can check whether you have met the requirement or not. If not, you can plan further for the project to achieve the pending requirement.

Quality control tool

RTM can be considered as a part of the Quality Control of a project. It helps you manage the quality of the project by tracking the final solution. Thus, with an RTM, you have proof that you have achieved the quality standards, thereby helping you in the audit process

Project direction

RTM aids in building and managing the scope of the project to keep the project aligned with its objectives. It ensures that your project is able to achieve whatever it was meant to do as per the goals. Thus, it gives the right direction to your project.

Change management

With RTM, you establish a connection between the requirements and the final product or service. If any changes occur in these requirements, there will be changes in the final product as well. This is how RTM ensures that change is managed across the project execution. Thus, you can avoid scope creep.

Risk management

When any change occurs in the requirements, you can link it to the final deliverable. This allows you to look at the possible risks of the change on the project. Thus, with RTM, you can understand the risks of a change on the project and you can manage it before it affects the project negatively.

No blind spots

RTM provides you with a clear view of the connection between requirements and deliverables. This enables the project team and all stakeholders to have complete visibility of the project. This helps you to identify if everything is working well or not with the project.

Testing before release

RTM allows you to track the achievement of each requirement using test cases. You review each feature or functionality by measuring it in different conditions and actions. Thus, you ensure to achieve the stated quality standards to comply with end-users’ expectations.

What are the components of an RTM? 

The key headings in an RTM document are: 

  • Unique ID 
  • Name of the requirement 
  • Description 
  • Owner 
  • Priority 
  • Version number 
  • Associated tasks and activities 
  • Related test case 
  • Current status 
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What are the steps of creating RTM?

Gather all business requirements 

The first step is to list down all the business requirements from the business requirement document. It will have information on the business requirement ID, name, and description of the requirement. 

Collect all functional requirements 

For each of the business requirements, you will have many functional requirements. Prepare a table having one business requirement as a separate title and mention all relevant functional requirements under it.  

Prepare test cases 

Now, get the test case document prepared from the testing team. It will have details such as test case ID, name, detailed steps, data, and the expected result.  

Link the functional requirements with test cases 

Now, map every test case with a functional requirement. So, in a table you will have information as follows: 

  • Test case ID 
  • Relevant business requirement ID 
  • Relevant functional requirement ID 
  • Test case name 
  • Test steps 
  • Test data 
  • Expected result 

Finalize the matrix 

Repeat the above step for every test case. You will have the final document ready with only the business requirement ID, functional requirement ID, and test case ID. If you wish to see the overall status, you can add details of priority, execution status, and defects in the matrix.  

Keep updating 

The requirements traceability matrix is an ongoing process. You need to keep updating it until the time project execution continues. This is because if there is any change in any requirement, the traceability matrix must display it. 

If a requirement is eliminated, you need to show that in the matrix. If a new requirement is added or a new test case is found, add it. You also need to update the matrix in case you find new bugs.  

Conclusion

Thus, you must pay full attention to the preparation of the requirements traceability matrix. It is crucial for the execution of any project. It helps you manage your requirements and thus meet your goals.

With a confirmation on the proper implementation of all requirements, you can expect the right outcomes at the end. With RTM, you can manage the scope of your project and make relevant decisions as per the status. You can also use it to prove to your seniors the achievement of each requirement.

What is the role of Technovisors?

Technovisors is a professional firm with offerings in IT consultancy, data analytics, and digital marketing. We can help you with the process of the requirements traceability matrix. We have the experience of handling everything about requirements for our clients.

Our expertise in project management is evident from our experience of handling projects for our clients in various sectors. We help you cover all the requirements relevant to a project. With our RTM support, you will be able to taker better product decisions on time.

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FAQs About RTM

There are many tools available in the market for preparing requirements traceability matrix. The most common tool that is used by companies is Excel. If it is a big project with too many requirements, working on Excel would be tedious and would lead to errors. So, organizations use tools that are easy to use and simplify the RTM process. 

Some of the challenges faced in the process of RTM are: 

  • You miss mentioning some of the requirements – business and/or functional.  
  • There is a miscommunication in informing about changes in any requirements, which affects the matrix. 
  • There are no priorities set for test cases, which leads to a lot of time being spent on testing each scenario. 
  • You forget to update the RTM as and when test cases or requirements are changed or added or removed. 

About the Author

Pathik Shah

(CISA, FCA, CS, DISA (ICAI), FAFP (ICAI))

Pathik is a multi-disciplinary professional with more than 22 years of experience in compliance, risk management, accounting, system audits, IT consultancy, and digital marketing. He has extensive knowledge of Anti-Money Laundering rules and regulations, and he helps companies comply with legal requirements. Pathik also helps companies generate value from their IT investments.