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What is the purpose of the Requirement Traceability Matrix?

Requirement Traceability Matrix is a tabulated document used to define co-relation between requirements and test cases. It ensures to capture all requirements proposed by the client and links them at every point during verification process. It also validates to check all requirements via test cases so that no functionality should remain unchecked during Software testing.

Requirement Traceability Matrix is the most feasible and scientific solution to store all requirements in one place and track their progress. Thus, it can not be wrong to say that requirement traceability matrix is an essential project management tool to provide a methodological way to track and monitor requirements from initiation to delivery.

A project manager uses requirement traceability matrix in different phases of product lifecycle and they are –

  • Requirement analysis and specification phase
  • Design analysis phase
  • Risk analysis phase
  • Coding, unit testing and integration phase
  • Validation phase that includes system testing, functional testing phase

Requirement Traceability Matrix is quite relevant in traditional methodologies like waterfall and modern methodologies like agile. In the traditional waterfall lifecycle methodology, it helps to trace and verify requirements sequentially. In SCRUM methodology, it uses to record user stories between product and sprint backlog.

Purpose of Requirement Traceability Matrix

Requirement Traceability Matrix plays a pivotal role in project management. RTM is the effective approach that project managers use to assess clients’ requirements at every step of product/project development to avoid misalignment between deliverables and expectations.

The main purpose of requirement traceability matrix is to keep track of requirements, its sources, shifts, progress and status of each requirement throughout the product/project lifecycle.

During validation process, requirement traceability matrix displays different test scenarios and status of various functionalities which ultimately help in inclusion of change requests or modifications.

It helps project manager to identify risks and evaluate them correctly before they become issues. And, thus, it reduces the risk of errors and failure to achieve objectives.

Requirement Traceability Matric helps testing team to understand the level and status of testing done for a particular product/project. This is done through a worksheet format that contains requirements with its all possible test scenarios and cases.

RTM is a powerful planning tool which determines the number of tests that are required, the types of tests that are required, and whether these can be automated, done manually, or if any existing tests can be re-used.

Using requirement traceability matrix this way can result in the most effective test execution and produce the overall defect status, focusing majorly on business requirements. More importantly, it also eases estimation or analysis of the result on the QA team’s work, with respect to re-working on test cases.

Some of the parameters that are required in RTM


A basic level RTM includes the following parameters –

  • Requirement ID
  • Requirement Type and Description
  • Test Cases with Status

A typical requirement traceability matrix in a software testing project may have more or fewer parameters than the parameters mentioned above.

The well-crafted RTM template explains that an RTM can

  • Show requirement coverages in the number of test cases
  • Design and execute status for the specific test case
  • capture UAT status in the same matrix if it is to be done.
  • mention the related defects and the current state in the same matrix.


A well-defined RTM, if implemented accurately, helps a project manager avoid scope management-related issues as well. As a result, it effectively helps to improve the project quality and reliability of a final product/project.

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