Five Tips for Requirements Traceability

March 24, 2017 Melissa Tatham

Traceability, which documents the life of a requirement, is a key tool to manage the challenge of increasingly complex products. When requirements traceability is carried out correctly, teams can accurately assess the impact of changes, track the full history of product development, keep everyone in sync, and consistently improve the quality of the products being built — every project, every release.

The problem is too many companies are lagging behind, trying to perform traceability manually, while their products are growing in complexity. Jama Connect can help teams get an edge in requirements traceability, but we realize not every organization may be ready to move in that direction yet.

No matter how you’re performing traceability at the moment, here are five ways to improve your process, taken from our white paper, “Better Product Development: Five Tips for Traceability.”

1. Assess the Impact of a Change Before You Implement It

If a requirement changes during development, it will impact directly-related system requirements, downstream requirements, and numerous verification tests. That’s why you must be able to anticipate the impact a change will have on your product and your entire team and best prepare for the outcome.

2. Connect Everyone and Everything with Trace Relationships

Each product you develop has customers, stakeholders, and members of your team associated with it. That’s why you need the ability to connect data to the appropriate team members while making it clear who needs to respond when changes occur. This is one of the benefits of traceability, and when done effectively it allows you to map out the interdependencies among different items.

“Catching these traceability gaps would’ve probably taken hours or days in our old system, while with Jama, it became obvious in a matter of minutes.”

Read how Jama Connect improved Össur’s traceability process.

3. Ensure Requirements Traceability and Proper Coverage

You should be able to view related requirements and understand the status of those requirements. If you do use a requirements solution, it’s important that it visually represents your product and system, aligns users, maintains quality, meets compliance standards, and ensures you can quickly understand the impact of changes.

4. Document Changes for Complete Visibility and a Detailed Audit Trail

Companies that need to meet industry compliance standards must have a comprehensive audit trail of changes to analyze who, what, when and why a change occurred. Modern traceability allows you to easily roll back to an earlier version of your changes because everything is stored in a unified system of record.

5. Keep the Team in Sync with Real-Time Communications

Too often team members waste time hunting in a requirements spec or traceability matrix to determine if the latest change is relevant to them, which is costly. Or they ignore the email barrage and miss a change that is important to them, which is even more costly. Real-time communication of the specific requirement that changed to just the relevant groups or individual users it affects saves time and money.

A solid approach to traceability reflects your complex product data and simplifies the development process of delivering a high-quality product. You save time and money, accelerate development cycles, reduce the risk of error, and improve quality and compliance. A good product development solution makes it easy to perform and report on traces so you stay on time, on budget, and within scope.

To go deeper on the topic of traceability, and how Jama Connect helps fastrack the process, check out our eBook, “The Jama Software Guide to Requirements Traceability.”

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