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How to Create and Use a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)

How to Create and Use a Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)

Table of Contents

What is Requirements Traceability Matrix?

A traceability matrix is a visual aid that combines two baseline documents that need a many-to-many relationship to check the completeness of the relationship. A traceability matrix is used for, one, to keep a record of requirements, and two, to ensure requirement fulfillment. 

The requirement traceability matrix is another document that traces the user requirements with the test cases. It considers all the proposed requirements by the client and the requirement traceability in a single document and delivers it at the completion of the software development lifecycle. The main aim of RTM is to validate that all the requirements are cross-checked through test cases so that the no-functionality is ticked during the software testing process.

Types of Traceability Matrix

Technically, there are three types of traceability matrix. Forward Traceability, Backward Traceability, and Bi-directional Traceability. 

  • Forward Traceability – Forward Traceability is traceability from requirements to test cases. It is performed to ensure that the project moves in the right direction and that each and every requirement is tested properly. 
  • Backward Traceability – Backward Traceability is traceability from test cases to requirements. It is performed to ensure that the project moves in the desired direction and that there are no extra or unspecified features are added to the product. 
  • Bi-directional Traceability – Bi-directional Traceability is traceability in both forward and backward directions. Here, the test cases are mapped to requirements and vice versa. It is performed to ensure that all the test cases are traceable to each requirement and all the requirements specified are accurate and there are valid test cases for each of them.

Importance of Traceability Matrix?

The main target of every tester is to understand the client’s requirements properly and ensure that the developed product is up to the mark and as defect-free as possible. Creating negative as well as positive test cases is what is required here. An RTM is a worksheet that contains all the information related to the client’s requirements. It also contains information about possible test cases and scenarios and at what stage they are currently. 

There are various benefits that are provided by requirements traceability. They include:

  • It makes impact analysis easier.
  • It helps in making changes properly. Hence, improves product quality.
  • It also helps define the traceability links in a way that it records the reverse engineering knowledge as well. 
  • In case a team member with vital knowledge leaves the company, having complete information transparency helps a lot. It majorly reduces the risk of incorrect development. 
  • It confirms 100% test coverage via an appropriate verification process.

Key elements of an RTM

There are several things that an RTM must contain. They include:

  • Unique Requirements ID
  • Type of the requirements
  • Description of the requirements
  • A trace to design the specifications
  • References of integration test cases
  • References of unit test cases
  • References of system test cases
  • References of user acceptance test cases
  • A trace of the test scripts.

Prerequisites for an RTM

Several key elements of a requirements traceability matrix include:

  • Assessment of business requirements
  • List of the project objectives
  • Project scope
  • Design of the product to be developed
  • Plan for developing the product
  • Testing strategy
  • High-level requirements.

Generating a Traceability Matrix in Visure Requirements

The process of creating a Requirements Traceability Matrix should begin with goal setting to specify what the RTM should deliver. As we explained earlier, there are different types of RTM, and it’s important to gather the right information for the right matrix.

The next step is requirements tracing. These days, requirements tracing is done with the help of a requirements traceability tool, like the one provided by Visure Solutions. It is easier to gather requirements from MS Word, MS Excel, ReqIF, and other sources, manage changes in the different phases of the lifecycle with the help of a traceability tool and segregate the requirements as tested or untested.

Designed to provide integral support to the complete requirement process, Visure Requirements is a state-of-the-art requirements management software tool that stands out with its customizability and ease of use. Visure Requirements comes with several RTM reports that can be customized and generated with just a few clicks.

Requirements Traceability Matrix

A typical RTM generated by Visure Requirements contains product requirements, system requirements, components requirements, risks, and tests. Visure Requirements can export RTMs to multiple different formats, including PDF and XLS.

Managing the entire requirements process in a single tool makes it easy for stakeholders to understand, follow, and participate, and it also helps ensure that the collected requirements define the system required by the users.


Requirements Traceability Matrix is a table that links requirements throughout the development process. It helps to ensure that no requirement is missed and allows for efficient change management when changes do occur. There are several different types of RTMs, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The selection of which type of RTM to use depends on the specific project needs. Requirements traceability matrix is an important tool for any organization developing software products or solutions. By using this tool, organizations can improve communication among team members, reduce risks associated with missing requirements, and increase customer satisfaction. Visure Requirements ALM Platform offers a free 30-day trial so you can try out all the features before deciding if it’s the right solution for your organization’s needs.

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Streamlining Requirements Management and Validation

July 16th, 2024

10 am EST | 4 pm CET | 7 am PST

Louis Arduin

Louis Arduin

Senior Consultant, Visure Solutions

Thomas Dirsch

Senior Software Quality Consultant, Razorcat Development GmbH

An Integrated Approach with Visure Solutions and Razorcat Development TESSY

Learn how to streamline requirements management and validation for the best outcomes.