Requirements traceability: What, why and how

Traceability is one of the lesser understood aspects of business analysis. It is indeed quite hard to maintain good traceability unless automated.

This is why BABoK® warns us being theoretical about traceability.

In this article, I would like to explain traceability concepts with the help of an example.

BABoK® definition of traceability:

Traceability is the ability to look at a requirement and others to which it is related, linking business requirements to stakeholder and solution requirements, to artifacts and solution components.

Traceability identifies and documents the lineage of each requirement, including its backward traceability (derivation), forward traceability (allocation) and its relationship to other requirements.

Traceability ensures that the solution conforms to the requirements. It also helps in managing scope, risk, time, requirement changes, cost, and communication. It can be used to detect missing functionalities or to identify whether the implemented functionality is supported by a specific requirement.

Reasons for creating traceability are:

Assist in impact analysis for requirements changes.

Ensure requirements coverage: Understand how business objectives are implemented. Business objectives not traced to detailed components have not been analyzed and hence not included in the solution.

Requirements allocation.


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Relationships

Derive

When one requirement is derived from the other. Stakeholder requirements are derived from business requirements. Solution requirements are derived from stakeholder requirements.

Depends

One requirement can be implemented only if the other has been implemented or easier to implement if the other is implemented.

Satisfy

The relationship between an implementation element and the requirements it is satisfying.

Validate

A relation between a requirement and its test case to validate whether the solution fulfills the requirement.

Let’s take a practical example of a requirement to list all products on an eCommerce store.

mishra 06212018a

Requirement

To list products in the e-commerce portal with their price

Derived from (Parent requirement)

Enable e-commerce for business

Dependent requirement (Prerequisite)

Payment gateway to collect payment from customers

Satisfied by (Allocated to Solution component)

Storefront end

Validated by (Tested by test component)

Test cases to test store functionality.

This is a simple template to capture requirements traceability. You may transpose the same to handle multiple requirements in the template.


LN Mishra

LN Mishra (LN) CBAP, CBDA, AAC, CCA Helping BAs to Improve Their Careers: Guided 1000+ BAs to be IIBA® Certified World’s 1st BA to hold all 6 IIBA certifications Practicing BA for 25+ years, Acclaimed Author, Versatile Trainer and Consultant Co-founder and COO @ Adaptive US I have 25+ years of professional experience in agile software development, requirements analysis, business analysis, IT GRC, and management consulting. I currently play the role of business analysis thought leader and product owner, SuXeed, Adaptive’s flagship learning solution. He has been part of multiple large system developments, In-country Value System for PDO Oman and the Color Data Management System for AkzoNobel. I was also involved in multiple large ERP implementation projects and was involved in one of the world’s largest change management programs in PricewaterhouseCoopers, for a large utility agency. I have conducted 300+ workshops in business analysis, requirements management, agile, software project management, Six Sigma, CMM, ISO 9001, and ISO 27001. I have guided 30+ six sigma projects in iGate, MACH, and Akzo Nobel. I hold Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM) from IIM Ahmedabad and BE (Honors) in Electronics.