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Requirements Traceability: Links in the Requirements Chain

Requirements Traceability: Links in the Requirements Chain

Table of Contents

Requirements Derivation

For reliable traceability of derived requirements, each requirement must be clearly identified and tracked throughout the project using a unique and persistent label. Using one centralized, modernized requirements management system is more desirable than several separate documents for this purpose.

A requirements management tool offers a centralized, convenient place for collecting feedback and immediately collaborating on reviews and approvals. This same software provides real-time traceability of all upstream and downstream relationships, giving you clear visibility into the effect that changes have on requirements at every level as well as test coverage. As such, project teams can set up four different types of trace links for their derived requirements with relative ease.

The Four Types of Derived Requirements Traceability

Forward TOWARDS Requirements – As customer demands evolve, project teams must adjust their requirements in order to keep up with shifts in customers’ priorities and the introduction or alteration of business regulations. These fine-tuned revisions help ensure that projects are adequately responding to changes within an ever-evolving landscape.

Backward FROM Requirements – By tracking backward from the set requirements, one can gain a better understanding of where each need originated. For example, leveraging an effective tool for requirements management will demonstrate how the derived requirement is linked to its origin and what customer use case it works towards fulfilling.

Forward FROM Requirements – As product development progresses, it becomes possible to trace the requirements back to their corresponding elements. This kind of link provides confirmation that each requirement is fulfilled by a given component. Establishing this connection ensures products are being built up to user expectations and specifications.

Backward TOWARDS Requirements – By understanding the rationale behind specific lines of code, this type of link provides insight into why certain features were designed. Despite that some pieces of code might not directly align with stakeholder expectations, it is essential to recognize why a software engineer chose to include them in the application.

The Main Motivations for Derived Requirements Traceability

Traceability plays a critical role in creating an efficient product lifecycle and advanced project management. More detailed advantages of incorporating traceability include:

Certifications – By verifying that all required conditions were met, traceability data can provide evidence of the safety and integrity of certified products.

Impact Analysis – By diligently following every requirement derived from a change, there is less likelihood of missing any detail that could have an impact. This ensures the accuracy and completeness of all requirements tracking efforts.

Maintenance – Utilizing a modern requirements management tool to ensure clear traceability makes upkeep effortless, as modifications (such as responding to changes in legal regulations or corporate policies) can be pursued with absolute certainty. This system allows users to quickly identify any pertinent rules that have been addressed within the required documents.

Project Tracking – Traceability information is an irrefutable document that outlines the progress of planned functionality; if there are any missing links, it implies work products have not been made.

Re-engineering – To ensure a smooth transition from an outdated system to the new one, list all functions of the legacy system and trace them in the requirements and software components of its replacement. Record this data for reference purposes.

Reuse – By implementing derived requirements traceability, we can identify and repurpose product components more efficiently. This includes related packages of specifications, designs, code, and tests for easy reuse.

Risk Reduction – Detailed documentation of component interconnections can reduce the danger that comes with losing a valuable team member who holds essential knowledge about the system.

Testing – Connecting together requirements, tests and code can guide us to the potential sources of bugs upon receiving an unforeseen test result. Moreover, understanding which tests are related to what specifications will provide a great advantage by permitting the deletion of unnecessary checks.

Purpose of Requirements Traceability

The purpose of requirements traceability is to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are equipped with the resources necessary for validating, managing, and tracking the progress of product development. This comprehensive system helps us comprehend which parts of a product were built from which requirements and how these components support each other. In addition to offering insight into various development stages, it protects organizations against potential risks by confirming that derived requirements were properly addressed. Traceability also serves as a learning tool for improving future projects by providing visibility on past successes and failures; this allows teams to make better decisions when determining project priorities. Finally, it can help reduce costs as unnecessary work can be avoided through the reuse of existing components.

Challenges with Requirements Traceability

While requirements traceability can help to optimize processes and reduce costs, it is not without its own set of challenges. For example, the lack of proper linking between requirements can lead to significant errors during product development; however, ensuring that all components are connected requires a considerable amount of time and effort. The most common ones include:

  • Lack of Standardization: Without a standardized traceability framework, it is difficult to ensure that all components are connected. This can lead to miscommunication between stakeholders, as well as missed deadlines and unforeseen errors.
  • Manual Tracking: If manual processes are used for tracking requirements, there is an increased risk of human error and inefficiency. Additionally, it may be time-consuming and tedious to keep track of changes manually instead of automatically utilizing software tools designed specifically for this purpose.
  • Poor Documentation: Low-quality documentation leads to confusion when trying to understand the various requirements; if important details are not recorded accurately, it can reduce the effectiveness of traceability efforts significantly. Furthermore, inadequate documentation can result in the wrong product being built.
  • Cost:  Implementing a traceability system requires considerable resources, which can be difficult to justify if it is not properly utilized. Additionally, the cost of maintenance and upkeep should also be factored into any decision involving requirements traceability.
  • Change Management:  As requirements evolve over the course of product development, it is necessary to update traceability links accordingly. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process if not approached in an organized manner.
  • Improper Management Tool:  Despite the availability of various software tools, many organizations still rely on manual processes to manage traceability. This can lead to significant delays and errors if not properly managed.

Visure Requirements ALM Platform

Visure is one of the most trusted ALM platforms that specialize in requirements management for organizations of all sizes across the globe. It is flexible and completely capable of streamlining the requirements processes allowing a better, more efficient, and more collaborative work environment. Data analysts can create relationships, generate hierarchies, manage traceability and automatically capture requirements from MS Excel, Outlook, and MS Word. Visure supports standard compliance templates for ISO 26262, IEC 62304, IEC 61508, CENELEC 50128, DO-178B/C, FMEA, SPICE, CMMI, etc. The platform integrates with several third-party solutions, such as Accompa, Jira, MS Sharepoint, and Salesforce.

Visure’s revolutionary requirements ALM platform ensures that you will have real-time access to a traceability dashboard, providing an in-depth view of the items being or not being traced. This unparalleled tool allows for full enforcement at any level – from customer and software demands right down to mechanical details, risk assessment, and testing. Unlock visibility into your project today with Visure!


Requirements traceability is an essential part of any software development process and can help to streamline product development, reduce costs, and optimize processes. However, it is not without its own set of challenges, such as lack of standardization, manual tracking, poor documentation, cost issues, change management, and improper management tools. Visure Requirements ALM Platform provides a comprehensive solution for managing requirements traceability – ensuring real-time access to a traceability dashboard with full enforcement at any level. Utilizing this powerful platform will enable organizations to meet their goals while eliminating the risks associated with traditional requirements tracing techniques.

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Streamlining Requirements Management and Validation

July 11th, 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.