The goal of every software development organization is to meet the requirements of the customer and deliver a quality product. Within the scenario of software development and the current era, requirements are dynamic, and continue to evolve throughout the lifecycle of the project. This is where Requirement Traceability Matrix comes in.

Requirement traceability matrix

What is Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

Requirement Traceability Matrix is a method to find the origin of each software requirement proposed by the client, and analyze the changes made to those requirements, regarding the system being built. RTM can be regarded as a high-level document which traces the given requirements with the test cases so that the optimum level of testing is achieved, ultimately reducing risk and maintaining consistency throughout the project.

The aim of every test strategy is to perform adequate testing on the system in order to achieve maximum coverage i.e. every testable scenario should be tested. Requirement Traceability Matrix is a metric that can help provide insight related to the coverage of test cases for every given requirement.

The Need for Traceability

  • With RTM we can identify the impact of changes in the requirement
  • Good Quality is assured by testing all the features of the system
  • Functional and non-functional requirements will be satisfied, so contribute to the Quality Control process
  • Previous decisions can be taken into account to improve time and efforts for implementation
  • RTM can help prevent defect leakages because the application will be verified as a whole

Types of Traceability

Forward Traceability

In forward traceability, we map requirements to the test cases, ensuring that efforts are progressing in the desired direction. The ultimate result is to make sure that each given requirement has been tested thoroughly.

Backward Traceability

In backward traceability, we map test cases to the requirements, and is simply the reverse of forward traceability. This determines whether the system which is being implemented remains on the right track.

Bi-Directional Traceability

As the name suggests, bi-directional traceability is a mixture of both forward and backward traceability, in which requirements are mapped with test cases and test cases are mapped with requirements. This is to make sure that every given requirement has a relevant and associated test case, and vice-versa.


Requirement Traceability Matrix is a tool to map and trace all the given requirements with the test cases and discover bugs. RTM also helps in performing maximum test coverage which prevents the repetition of testing activities. If the defect ratio is high, then we can say that testing activity is up to the mark, or that it is not performing as expected.