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What is the purpose of the Requirement Traceability Matrix

RTM stands for requirement traceability matrix. All the requirements are captured in RTM document. RTM helps to have associated test cases for all the gathered requirements. In a nutshell all the requirements are traced throughout the lifecycle of project using their associated test cases in a matrix (rows and columns) format.


Structure of RTM

RTM has got a simple structure. Anyone can understand by looking at the RTM file. Rows will have all the requirements along with associated test cases and columns should be recording design1 status, testing 1 status, design 2 status, testing 2 statuses, UAT.As soon as requirement passes through one stage, corresponding status has to be indicated. Status can be pass, fail, not run etc..

Parameters of the document include:

Requirement ID

Requirement Name

Requirement description


RTM is used in both traditional approach and modern approaches also. In waterfall model RTM is maintained in the form of a excel. This is communicated to client through email

In Agile these are tracked as user stories. Each user story is a requirement and acceptance criteria is the associated test case which the functionality should achieve. This is recorded in Jira which is accessible to relevant stakeholders


Purpose of RTM

The purpose of RTM is to follow if each requirement of a client has achieved its objective or not. It helps to track requirements in such a way that expectations are in line with deliverables. With the help of RTM, no functionality will remain unchecked.

People depend more on RTM because of its simplicity. It is very important to track each requirement. Even if one of the requirements are not acted up on it might impact the project depending on the priority. Any change in requirement, RTM helps to capture the impact of change in the associated test cases also, thereby by giving big picture.

It is helpful in tracking the requirements in an effective manner. It helps in documenting of all the requirement at one place. It also helps in tracing all the defects at one place so that important requirement defects can be handled in a better way.

Types of RTM

Forward Traceability

In this type of RTM requirements are traced to test cases and hence termed as Forward Traceability


Backward Traceability

In this type of RTM test cases are traced to the requirements and hence termed as Backward Traceability.

Bidirectional Traceability

In this type of RTM test cases are traced in both forward and backward directions and hence termed as Bidirectional Traceability


As a whole:

RTM should be able to capture the test cases

The designing and testing of test cases

User acceptance testing of the test cases

Recording of any defects identified.



RTM is an effective matrix to track the requirements of a project. It helps the project manager to tackle requirements in a transparent way. It helps to maintain deliverables as expected. RTM helps to know the rate which project is going and if the project is adhering to timeline or not.

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