Today’s session is about an important QC tool, that is either over-simplified (read overlooked) or over-emphasized – Traceability Matrix(TM). Most often, the making, reviewing or sharing of a Traceability Matrix is not one of the primary QA process deliverables – so it is not majorly concentrated on, thus causing the under-emphasis.
As is a general practice at STH, we will see the “What” and “How” aspects about a TM in this article. Requirements Traceability Matrix to begin with, establishes a way to make sure we place checks on the coverage aspect. The below is our Functional Specifications document (FSD) based on the interpretation of the Business requirements document (BRD) and the adaptation of it to computer applications. Based on the above two input documents, as the QA team we came up with the below list high-level scenarios for us to test. Once we arrive here, now would be a good time to start creating the requirements traceability matrix. I personally prefer a very simple excel sheet with columns for each document that we wish to track. The above document establishes a trace between, the BRD to FSD and eventually to the test scenarios. This is the preliminary version of your TM but generally does not serve its purpose when you stop here. For each test scenario that you came up with, you are going to have at least 1 or more test cases.
As a general rule, any empty spaces in the Traceability Matrix are potential areas for investigation. The “Existing user” functionality has been deferred to later or removed from the application’s functionality requirements. If it is scenario 1, it will indicate the places where test team needs to work some more to ensure 100% coverage. In scenarios 2, TM not just shows gaps it points to incorrect documentation that needs immediate correction. 2) Defects: When this column is used to establish the backward traceability we can tell that the “New user” functionality is the most flawed.
4) If there is a technical design document or use cases or any other artifacts that you would like to track you can always expand the above created document to suit your needs by adding additional columns. A TM is not a manual testing specific tool, it can be used for automation projects as well. An important point to note is that, the way you maintain and update your Traceability Matrix determines the effectiveness of its use. Only suggestion would be fill in the gaps in BRD and FSD columns to allow sorting and filtering, without corrupting the data. So in given excel sheet if in QC i think no need to prepare Traceability Matrix right as everything it is covered by Test Coverage analysis and only if we are not using the tool we need the above Traceability Matrix. When a project is using HP Quality centre, is there still a need to create and maintain this RTM as QC it self has a Req tab and most often Req are uploaded in QC and a link is establisted between REQ and Test scripts that we create. It will be further useful, if the details of recording metrics version wise – how to add.


Suppose there are 3 modules and 3 test engineers are working on them, then how they will update the RTM ?
These tools are also very useful for enforcing rigorous thinking and processes in building a startup. But in our experience at Year One Labs, these business model generation tools don’t go far enough. Since this is a work in progress, I’d love to get your feedback on its value, how you could see it changing, etc.
Yes indeed its a very promising and nice project and thanks for sharing this useful info with us. Excellent article, thanks to the author blog for the information provided, gladly read more. I just discovered your blog through the recommendation of Working At Home Blog – thanks! I ran my own business for a while and to be honest these tools would’ve probably done me some good back then (though now I am an employee once again). Bajaj Allianz presents Life Insurance, Car Insurance, Travel Insurance, Health Insurance, Term Insurance and Home Insurance. On the contrary, some clients expect a TM to reveal earth-shattering facets about their product (under test) and are disappointed. Since the business requirements and functional requirements are not numbered uniquely we are going to use the section numbers in the document to track. By creating a document like this, we can make sure every aspect of the initial requirements have been taken into consideration by the testing team for creating their test suites.
For example, in the above Traceability Matrix you see that there are no test cases written for FSD section 1.2.
Instead of reporting that so and so test cases failed, TM provides a transparency back to the business requirement that has most defects thus show casing the Quality in terms of what the client desires. If not updated often or updated incorrectly the tool is a burden instead of being a help and creates the impression that the tool by itself it not worthy of using.
One suggestion- We could even provide link to the test case id and defect id to in the TM make it more user friendly.
On my projects I have used the same approach but until today I even don`t asked myself that this approach for managing all the requirements is called TM.
I was also very impressed with Steve Blank’s new initiative Lean Launch Lab, which combines a canvas business model tool and a blogging tool for startups to use and share information regularly with investors.
Lean Canvas for example, gets you to write down your hypotheses, describe how you’ll test them and measure results week after week. So we designed our own Problem-Solution Canvas at Year One Labs to keep people hyper-focused on daily and weekly goals. And if you do anything like this yourself, or take up the canvas for your own efforts, please let me know. I have already been looking through your website a lot within the last day or two and it has received an area at my favorites.
I just made a blog post about my recommendations for using social media for start-ups and one man internet businesses which is what drew me to your article, not the same thing but somewhat related.


I believe that we can learn and update our knowledges all the time, if we have some good resouces like this one.. This will enhance understanding when this document is shared with the client or any other teams. When this is done, the TM works as a health check report displaying the status of the defects corresponding to a certain BRD or FSD functionality is being open or closed. Please share your experiences, comments, thoughts and feedback on this article through your comments. Now, I right my Test Cases in an excel spreadsheet and import them into JIRA once they have been signed off as complete by Development and the Business owner.
They’re still high level in terms of their definition for things like Problem and Solution. You don’t have enough test subjects to really make judgment calls on how things are going. Metrics don’t necessarily mean application metrics, it could mean things like the number of interviews done and how they went. Accomplishments are less interesting, but often where entrepreneurs like to share the most.
Our Problem-Solution Canvas is designed to help as a tool for really evaluating progress, and looking at things honestly. Can the TM take the place of my Test Case spreadsheet or should I still use both to make sure I have maximum test coverage. Both are very useful tools for designing a business model, and we’ve encouraged the startups at Year One Labs to use lean canvas and think about designing a business model vs.
We’re getting into the nitty gritty on issues so we can really keep entrepreneurs focused.
In fact they more often or not deal with the core issues around customer development – you need to speak with more people, you need to talk to your users, you need to test different value propositions, etc. As we solve (or don’t solve) problems here, it bubbles back up logically to the bigger, broader canvas. Some will overanalyze their existing metrics to look for the necessary trends and proof to validate their hypotheses.
Or if you find that a specific target market isn’t responding as expected, you might adjust the Customer Segments in your lean canvas.
Entrepreneurs struggle here because they often focus on problems that aren’t necessarily critical to validating (or invalidating) the original hypotheses. It doesn’t come natural to many people, and you spend more time proving yourself wrong than right. But we’ve found that the canvas helps focus people and we use it to anchor our discussions. A quick test to see if you’re focusing on the right problems is to ask yourself, “If I solve this problem or do this specific thing, does it help me learn more about the core value of my idea?



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