Use Traceability to Ensure All Requirements are Met

Traceability refers to the ability to trace, or track, requirements throughout the lifecycle and into the final solution. Tracking requirements through the project ensures that all requirements are built into the design, all requirements are built into the solution, all requirements are tested and all requirements are implemented in the final solution. This is part of a structured lifecycle process.

Use a Traceability Matrix

The easiest way to create a link between your requirements and other development elements is by developing a Traceability Matrix. You could just number the requirements as “1”, “2”, “3”, etc. However, you might want to build more sophistication into the numbering scheme. For example, you could give the requirements smarter names such as “TAB-001”, “TAB-002”, “DIS-001”, “DIS-002”, etc.

Tracking requirements can be done in a couple simple ways. One way, probably the simplest, is to just validate that each requirement is accounted for in each project phase. For instance, something like the following table might do.

Requirement

Design

Construct

Test

TAB-001

X

X

X

TAB-002

X

X

TAB-003

X

X

The “X” in each box validates that each particular requirement was accounted for in each phase.

A more sophisticated example is shown below. In this case, the requirements are tracked through each project phase and the individual components are also identified.

Requirement

Design Element

Construct Component

Test Case

TAB-001

D-APR607P

C-APR607P

T-004-01

TAB-002

D-ARX607P

C-ARX607P

T-004-09, T-004-15

TAB-003

D-APC103D
D-APC103E

C-APC103D
C-APC103E

T-004-22

This tracking requires the team to keep more details as the requirements are proceeding through the lifecycle. However, it may be helpful to understand the details of the initial requirement, the design element, the component that contains the code for the requirement and the particular test case that ensured that the requirement worked correctly.

The key thing to remember about traceability is that it must be enforced throughout the lifecycle or else it does not work. If the team assigns tracking numbers to the requirements, but the requirements are not tracked in subsequent phases, the whole tracking scheme will break down.