Requirements Traceability Matrix - RTM
By Tom Carlos (PMP)
Defining the RTM
The Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is a tool to help ensure that the project’s scope, requirements, and deliverables remain “as is” when compared to the baseline. Thus, it “traces” the deliverables by establishing a thread for each requirement- from the project’s initiation to the final implementation.
The RTM can be used during all phases of a project to:
- Track all requirements and whether or not they are being met by the current process and design
- Assist in the creation of the RFP, Project Plan Tasks, Deliverable Documents, and Test Scripts
- Help ensure that all system requirements have been met during the Verification process.
The Matrix should be created at the very beginning of a project because it forms the basis of the project’s scope and incorporates the specific requirements and deliverables that will be produced.
The Matrix is considered to be bi-directional. It tracks the requirement “forward” by examining the output of the deliverables and “backward” by looking at the business requirement that was specified for a particular feature of the product. The RTM is also used to verify that all requirements are met and to identify changes to the scope when they occur.
Requirements <-> RFP <-> Design/Task <-> Deliverables <-> Verification
The use of the RTM enhances the scope management process. It also assists with the process control and quality management. RTM can also be thought of as a process of documenting the connection and relationships between the initial requirements of the project and the final product or service produced.
How do you create an RTM?
In each of the steps shown above, each requirement must be unique and clearly defined. The requirement is then part of each critical component of the project. The references throughout the entire process must be consistent and unique. In order to insure that this occurs, the Matrix traces each requirement and creates a relationship between each of the processes.
- Req #: Requirement Number; for each project requirement, begin to list them on the RTM in a numerical order and group them by function.
- Name: Enter the name and brief description of the requirement.
- RFP #: Request For Proposal (RFP); specify the identification number of the requirement as listed in the RFP.
- DDD #: Deliverable Definition Document (Also referred to as the Deliverable Expectation Document- DED); use the RFP requirement number as a reference for the DDD that is created for the requirement.
- PPT #: List the MS Project Subtask and Task numbers that are associated with the requirement.
- TS #: Test scripts should be prepared for the actual testing process.
- Verification: Use this field to record completion of the signoff process.
Tom Carlos has over 20 years of cumulative experience in business, technical, and training environments. He is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and member of the Sacramento Valley PMI Chapter. For other articles on similar subjects, you can visit www.carlosconsulting.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.