What is Tracebility Matrix?

A method used to validate the compliance of a process or product with therequirements for that process or product.  The requirements are each listed in a row of the matrix and the columns of the matrix are used to identify how and where each requirement has been addressed.

In a software development process, a traceability matrix is a table that correlates any two baselined documents that require a many to many relationship to determine the completeness of the relationship. It is often used with high-level requirements (sometimes known as marketing requirements) and detailed requirements of the software product to the matching parts of high-level design, detailed design, test plan, and test cases.

Common usage is to take the identifier for each of the items of one document and place them in the left column. The identifiers for the other document are placed across the top row. When an item in the left column is related to an item across the top, a mark is placed in the intersecting cell. The number of relationships are added up for each row and each column. This value indicates the mapping of the two items. Zero values indicate that no relationship exists. It must be determined if one must be made. Large values imply that the item is too complex and should be simplified.

To ease with the creation of traceability matrices, it is advisable to add the relationships to the source documents for both backward traceability and forwardtraceability. In other words, when an item is changed in one baselined document, it’s easy to see what needs to be changed in the other.

Traceability ensures completeness, that all lower level requirements come from higher level requirements, and that all higher level requirements are allocated to lower level requirements. Traceability is also used to manage change and provides the basis for test planning.