Requirements Traceability Matrix

A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) in project management is one of the best tools you can use to organize and track your business requirements throughout the development process. While some organizations mistakenly assume that creating a requirements traceability matrix will be expensive and time-consuming, the exact opposite is true -- by adding an RTM to your project management toolkit, you’ll save money and time in the long run, you’ll save lots of headaches, and you’ll ensure that your business requirements are always in alignment with your actual product or service development.

What is Requirements Traceability Matrix?

A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is a document that links requirements throughout the software development process. In other words, it’s a tool that can be used to trace the relationships between requirements. This traceability is important because it allows project managers to ensure that all requirements are being met, and that no requirement has been forgotten. Additionally, an RTM can be used to identify potential risks and issues early on in the project. It does this by showing where there might be mismatches between expectations and results. If these mismatches are identified early enough, they can often be resolved before they cause major problems later on in the project.

The requirements traceability matrix is a project artifact, that emerges as a result of the requirements elicitation process. It is very beneficial in scope definition, conduct procurements process, creation of quality management plan and procurement management plan, controlling the scope of the project and validating it.

Requirements traceability matrix is likely to be used in the following project performance domains,

How do you create Requirements Traceability Matrix ?

You can create a Requirements Traceability Matrix in Microsoft Excel or by using specialized tools.

Regardless of the tool you use, there are three basic steps to follow.
  • Set clear goals.
  • Establish the relationships between your artifacts.
  • Fill in the traceability matrix.

Draw arrows between rows and columns, then fill in the cells with the associated requirements and corresponding source artifacts. Identify any gaps and missing requirements that need to be captured by creating new rows and columns in your matrix. Once you have finished, look for lines where there is more than one requirement at a particular point of contact. Remember that these lines represent unresolved conflicts or ambiguities about what should happen next. 

Benefits and Conclusion

A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is a document that links requirements throughout the project management processes. In other words, it provides traceability from the customer’s needs all the way through to your final product. 

A Requirements Traceability Matrix can be used in project management to help ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, that all stakeholders are on the same page, and that your final product meets customer expectations.