Requirements Traceability Matrix – RTM

October 21, 2008 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Scope Management,Requirements Management,Scope Management

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.

Requirements Traceability Matrix

Requirements Traceability Matrix Sample

  • 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 or contact him at

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3 people have left comments

Name and RFP# are showing on the same bullet point in the list. Thought you might want to know. Thanks for sharing!

Davin Greenwell wrote on January 14, 2009 - 4:10 pm | Visit Link

Good eye David, thanks!

It is now fixed!

PM Hut wrote on January 14, 2009 - 4:21 pm | Visit Link

In order to instill accountability,
for the Verification step, I prefer to record

i) name (or initials)
ii) date verified

slackers hate this; either they will be weeded out of your team, or -even better- they will weed themselves out, or -BEST, but unfortunately least frequent- they will change, commit to the team, and become productive.
Sometimes good people are scared of this b/c they think this metric will be traced (um…yeah) and used against them, ie task master type manager whipping them for better & better. The answer in this case is trust; your team needs to trust that you are a good and fair manager who requires good work but also looks out for his team. This is the art part of getting the most out of metrics & accountability.

Elijah U wrote on June 13, 2014 - 12:01 pm | Visit Link

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