Manage Requirements Traceability - Business Analyst

Purpose

Create and maintain relationships between business objectives, requirements, other team deliverables, and solution components to support business analysis or other activities.

Description

Requirements are related to other requirements, to solution components, and to other artifacts such as test cases. “Tracing” a requirement refers to the ability to look at a requirement and the others to which it is related. Tracing links business requirements to stakeholder and solution requirements, to other artifacts produced by the team, and to solution components.

Requirements traceability identifies and documents the lineage of each requirement, including its backward traceability (derivation), its forward traceability (allocation), and its relationship to other requirements. Traceability is used to help ensure solution conformance to requirements and to assist in scope and change management, risk management, time management, cost management, and communication management. It also is used to detect missing functionality or to identify if implemented functionality is not supported by a specific requirement.

Tracing may be performed at the individual requirement level, at the model or package level, or at the feature level as appropriate. The goal of tracing is to ensure that requirements (and ultimately, solution components) are linked back to a business objective. Tracing requirements also supports impact analysis, change management, andrequirementsallocation. Individual requirements almost always have inherent dependencies and interrelationships. There are several reasons for creating these relationships:

  • Impact Analysis. When a requirement is changed, the business analyst can easily review all of the related requirements and software components in order to understand the “impact” of the change.

  • Requirements Coverage. When business objectives are traced to detailed requirements such as business rules, data elements, and use cases it is clear how they will be accomplished. Each business objective can be reviewed to make sure that it will be addressed by the appropriate solution components. If a business objective is not tied to anything, it has not been analyzed and included in the solution. Additional information can be found in Assess Proposed Solution.

  • Requirements Allocation.See Allocate Requirements

Input

Requirements: All requirements may potentially be traced to other requirements, and all stakeholder and solution requirements must be traceable to a business requirement.

Requirements Management Plan: Defines how and whether traceability is being performed, the tools that will be used to support traceability and the processes that will be used to manage it.

Elements

1.Relationships

After examining and organizing the set of requirements, record the dependencies and relationships for each of the requirements. Knowing the dependencies and relationships between requirements helps when determining the sequence in which requirements are to be addressed. Common relationships include:

  • Necessity: This relationship exists when it only makes sense to implement a particular requirement if a related requirementis also implemented. This relationship may be unidirectional or bi-directional.

  • Effort:This relationship exists when a requirement is easier to implement if a related requirement is also implemented.

  • Subset: When the requirement is the decomposed outcome of another requirement.

  • Cover: When the requirement fully includes the other requirement. This is a special case of subset, where the top - level requirement is the sum of the sub - requirements.

  • Value: When including a requirement affects the desirability of a related requirement (either increasing or decreasing it). This may occur because the related requirement is only necessary if the first requirement is implemented, or because only one of the requirements should be implemented (for instance, when discussing two features that potentially meet a business requirement).

2. Impact Analysis

Impact analysis is performed to assess or evaluate the impact of a change. Traceability is a useful tool for performing impact analysis. When a requirement changes, its relationships to other requirements or system components can be reviewed. Each related requirement or component may also require a change to support the new requirement. These components can also be traced to their related components and those components reviewed for needed changes. Knowing the impact of a change helps business decision makers evaluate their options with facts.

3. Configuration Management System

A specialized requirements management tool is generally needed to trace large numbers of requirements.

Techniques

1. Coverage Matrix

A coverage matrix is a table or spreadsheet used to manage tracing. It is typically used when there are relatively few requirements or when tracing is limited to high - level requirements (e.g. features or models).

Stakeholders

Implementation SME: They must be able to link the requirements to the solution components that will implement them.

Project Manager: Traceability supports project change management.

Tester: Testers need to understand how and where requirements are implemented when creating test plans and test cases, and may trace test cases to requirements.

Output

Requirements [Traced]: Traced requirements have clearly defined relationships to other requirements within the solution scope such that it is relatively easy to identify the effects on other requirements of a change.

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