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15 January 2008

Requirements Traceability

Requirements traceability is an important part of requirements management.

It’s not a particularly glamorous part of the job, but it is crucial to complex projects in particular and good for all types of projects. Traceability helps you track what is happening to the project requirements, how and where they are addressed by solution and it helps manage those requirements that are not going to be fulfilled.

If you have ever been involved in project remediation then you’ll use the Traceability matrix as your first point of auditing what has gone before. And usually you’ll discover that little or no traceability has been done, which drives up risk and remediation costs further as more time and effort is invested to understand the relationship between requirements, business need and the solution design.

Even when you are not intervening, but are simply managing your own project you are less likely to discover surpirses such as omitted or mis-interpreted requirements if you employ this tool.

I don’t need to go into detail on the topic of how to perform Requirements Traceability here as there are two great sites on the topic I can refer you to;

Requirements traceability is a very important aspect of quality management for projects. If you are a PM you should make sure one of your senior team members is assigned to the task and make sure it is reviewed by the whole project team at each major phase of the project. If you are a BA you should know the contents intimately and use it to anticipate issues and risks coming up, and to manage the expectations and behaviours of both stakeholders and the development team.