Documenting the Requirements Traceability Matrix

The last output of the Collect Requirements process is the requirements traceability matrix. The idea behind the traceability matrix is to document where the requirement originated, document what the requirement will be traced to, and then follow it through to delivery or completion. Table 3.1 shows a sample traceability matrix with several attributes that identify the requirement.

TABLE 3.1 Requirements Traceability Matrix

Unique ID

Description of Requirement


Scenario Test Verification












Each requirement should have its own unique identifier. You could devise a numbering system that defines both the category of the requirement and a unique, ascending number— for example, HR (for human resources) 001. Or, a simple numbering system as shown in this example may suffice.

The description should be brief but have enough information to easily identify the requirement.

The source column refers to where the requirement originated. Requirements may come from many sources, including project objectives, business needs, product design, the work breakdown structure, deliverables, and so on.

Priority refers to the priority of the requirement. You can use any prioritization process like a simple numbering system or an alpha system as the example shows here. The definition of a "B" priority should be included in the requirements management plan. Perhaps an "A" is essential to project success and a "B" is highly desirable.

The test scenario in this example is where you record how the requirement will be tested or during which project phase, and test verification indicates if it passes or fails the test.

Status may capture information about the requirement that refers to whether the requirement has been approved to be included in the project; if it was added, deferred, canceled; and so on.

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