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How To Progress from Traceability Matrix to Automatic Reports?


Maintaining a requirements traceability matrix is time-consuming and error prone. Use ReqView to manage and analyze end-to-end traceability easily. Try it for free!

Why Is Requirements Traceability Important?

Requirements traceability represents a relationship between requirements and other project artifacts maintained through a software or system development process to increase quality of the product.

Detailed and consistent requirements traceability is essential for a demonstration that requirements were fully implemented and verified (requirements coverage analysis). It is also useful for estimation of related costs and risks by identification of consequences of each requirement change (change impact analysis).

For safety-critical systems, management of requirements traceability is the key for compliance with functional safety standards, such as:

  • General: IEC 61508 — Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems
  • Automotive: ISO 26262 — Road Vehicles – Functional Safety
  • Medical Devices: IEC 62304 — Medical Device Software — Software Life Cycle Processes
  • Aerospace: DO 178C — Software Considerations in Airborne Systems and Equipment Certification
  • Railway: EN 50128 — Railway Applications — Communication, Signaling and Processing Systems — Software for Railway Control and Protection Systems

What Is Wrong With Traceability Matrix?

A traceability matrix is a table displaying relations between high-level stakeholder requirements, detailed software or hardware requirements, system design, and verification & validation (test) records.

For instance, a requirements traceability matrix (RTM) can represent detailed requirements as table rows and test cases as table columns. If a test case verifies a requirement then the table contains a cross character ("X") in the corresponding row, see the image above.

You can manage a traceability matrix in MS Excel, however, you will reach limits of this approach for a larger project quickly:

  • Maintenance of a traceability matrix is very time-consuming and error prone — you need to manually update its rows and columns according to a list of requirements and tests described in two different documents.
  • Reviewing a large traceability matrix is inconvenient — just imagine yourselves scrolling a traceability matrix with more than 100 rows and columns to find out if a requirement is verified by any test.
  • Analysis of traceability analysis across multiple levels is difficult — you need to jump between traceability matrices when tracing coverage of high-level requirements (user needs) via detailed software requirements down to design elements.

Manage Requirements Traceability in ReqView

You really do not need to waste your time and efforts with manual maintenance of traceability matrices! ReqView requirements management solution will help you to manage and review end-to-end requirements traceability. See for yourself how easy it is.

Linking requirements is a breeze in ReqView — just select source and target requirements and choose a link type. When you browse a requirements document you will see all needed information about linked downstream / upstream requirements in additional columns displayed next to requirements descriptions. ReqView keeps traceability links consistent in both directions automatically. More info 

Analyze Requirements Traceability

We know that each customer has unique needs so you can flexibly customize layout and styling how ReqView displays information about linked objects using custom templates. For instance, you can visualize downstream requirements coverage in a tree. Or, you can display additional information of the linked objects, such as status of linked tests.

When you need to export information about requirements traceability from ReqView you can choose to generate a custom traceability report, or export the current table view with custom traceability columns to MS Word or Excel.

Customize Requirements Traceability Reports

Let’s demonstrate how you can generate end-to-end requirements coverage for the ReqView Demo Project. Our goal is to output an HTML traceability report displaying high-level user needs (NEEDS) in the left column and the related detailed software requirements (SRS) verified by test cases (TESTS) in the right column:

Note: The report displays status of software requirements (Implemented) and test cases (Passed) to understand the complete development status of high-level user needs.

As the first step, we create a custom export template exporting an HTML table with two columns. ReqView custom export templates use Handlebars {{ moustache }} syntax and predefined helpers functions to generate a structured text output (e.g. HTML, CSV, XML, JSON) from the project data model conveniently. For more information see Export Custom Templates.

Example: The following HTML template snippet renders the Traceability column of the HTML table without any styling:

{{#eachInlinkWith type="satisfaction"}}
<span>{{docId}}-{{id}}: {{shortDescription}}</span>
{{#eachInlinkWith type="verification"}}
<span>{{docId}}-{{id}}: {{shortDescription}}</span>

The snippet first uses eachInlinkWith block helper to iterate all incoming satisfaction traceability links of the given NEEDS user story. For each such link, it renders a SRS requirement ID, a short description (heading or text attributes) and the value of the status custom attribute.

Still in the context of the linked SRS requirement, the snippet analogically uses eachInlinkWith helper to iterate all incoming verification links. For each TEST object it renders a test ID, a short description, and the value of the status custom attribute.

You can download the full custom export template for our example traceability report from the ReqView Support Site (log in needed). If you need a little help with your specific traceability reports then contact us. We offer custom services and will be happy to tailor complex custom reports according to your specific needs.

Try ReqView

Find out how ReqView can simplify your daily requirements traceability tasks. Just download ReqView and request PRO trial license to start your free trial.

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