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What is the purpose of the Requirements Traceability Matrix?

Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is an essential tool in the document form to trace the coverage and completion of all the requirements that are the most significant for the execution of any project throughout all the stages of a SDLC.

But how is RTM prepared? RTM is prepared with the help of using 3 basic parameters i.e. requirement ID, requirement type and description and test cases with their status. This will provide one-stop solution for covering all the requirements and trace them throughout the SDLC. To trace these requirements, there are basic 3 types of traceability that are generally followed by the software industry professionals. Let’s look at these 3 traceability types mentioned below:

  • Forward Traceability: This type of traceability matrix is used to check if the project/product development is taking in the desired direction or not. This matrix makes sure that we have covered each requirement for the product development and that each requirement is thoroughly being tested. So basically, this matrix maps all the requirements to the corresponding test cases.
  • Backward or Reverse Traceability: This matrix ensures that the product is completely on the track and has not being deviated by the change in scope, product design, code implementation, etc. Unlike the Forward Traceability, this matrix maps all the test cases to the corresponding requirements.
  • Forward + Backward (bi-directional) Traceability: This traceability makes sure that we have covered all the project/product requirements by the test cases. It further analyzes the impact of the changes in the requirements that may have been made due to the defect found in the product.

Now that we have seen the traceability types, let’s look at the various purposes as to why do we need a RTM to successfully deliver any project:

Meet the desired goals:

The RTM comes into picture at the start of the requirements gathering itself and continues till the delivery of those requirements into the final product. These requirements indirectly cover the project goals that we want to achieve towards the project closure.

Performing the right set of QA tests:

RTM helps the testing or QA team in designing the right set of test cases so that they don’t waste their valuable time and efforts in testing something else. By doing so, the QA team can also improve the test coverage by tracing the test cases back with the RTM. This will eventually ensure that the delivered product has been rightfully tested with the highest achievable quality.

Make right decisions:

RTM can assist the project stakeholders in making right decisions related to the product throughout its software development lifecycle. With this we can understand and analyze the impact of the requirements changes that will bring in the product implementation and in achieving our end goals towards the completion of the final product.

Manage the overall project/product:

With the help of RTM, the project stakeholders can track the overall progress of the product/project. You’ll get to how much of the requirements you have addressed and implements and how much more are pending. Having weaker RTM will make the project stakeholders to meet their goals, performing QA tests, making strategic decisions very difficult which will ultimately lead to project failure.

About Suyash Satishkumar Udare

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