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Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM): Definition, Templates

19th Feb, 2024
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    Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM): Definition, Templates

    Before comprehending more about the traceability matrix (TM) and requirements traceability matrix (RTM), one needs to understand the elucidation of the traceability. It is an integral part of a job that deals with tracking and updating. Traceability allows tracking through an ongoing work procedure which ultimately updates the status of the developing product or experimental test. 

    Apart from tracking and updating, traceability can also store the history of any artifact which is further required by industries to reduce and regulate various risks. Industries also utilize traceability to function properly, control quality, and produce goods rapidly. 

    While online courses for Project Managers can simplify understanding traceability matrix, let us dive in to briefly grasp the concept and requirements traceability matrix (RTM), along with various requirements traceability matrix tools that fuel it.   

    What is Traceability Matrix (TM)?

    The traceability matrix is a kind of table document linked with any two pilot documents, which requires several tests to discover the absolute relationship between the two documents. It is mainly used in the developing phase of software, where it can easily track and update any requirement. The traceability matrix is used to trace both forward requirements and backward requirements. 

    The procedure of tracing forward requirements and backward requirements is also termed the requirements traceability matrix (RTM). Sometimes, the requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is also called the cross-reference matrix (CRM). 

    A traceability matrix is generated or created just before a test run to cover every requirement of the newly developed software. After a run test, all the requirements of developing software are documented inside the requirement traceability matrix. Subsequently, these requirements are later checked and resolved by the test engineers. Traceability is noted, so the client knows every requirement has been fulfilled. 

    If there is a missing requirement during the run test, the client will be able to evaluate if the software has some unresolved bug. This indicates that RTM in testing has not noted down certain requirements for the software which need to be resolved. To learn how to resolve bugs during run tests, one can join PMP training and certification course. 

    What is Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM)?

    The requirement traceability matrix or RTM is a top-level document that tracks and notes down all the requirements arising from the run tests. It also ensures that all the requirements have been implemented as directed by the client. This process of reviewing the requirements of a developing product is termed traceability. 

    The requirement traceability matrix or RTM ensures it fully covers all the requirements or glitches of new software. Therefore, RTM determines the maximum number of defects during the run tests. Therefore, it can be stated that it is a matrix that deals with successful as well as unsuccessful run tests to fulfill all the requirements of the product.

    Why is RTM Important?

    After learning the requirements traceability matrix meaning, knowing the importance of RTM is essential. 

    The main motive of any software development company is to deliver bug-free software to their clients. Therefore, companies utilize the requirement traceability matrix (RTM) to detect and solve the requirements of the developing software. Apart from this, there are several other values as well as purposes of the requirement traceability matrix that have been discussed below:

    1. Completion of Goals

    The requirement traceability matrix tends to fulfill the requirements of the software. While fulfilling the requirements, RTM automatically leads a project toward its original goals. Therefore, companies give immense importance to RTM as it assists them in completing their targeted goals. 

    2. Assist in Running the Right Tests

    The quality assurance team (QA team) identifies the glitches of software during run time with the assistance of the requirement traceability matrix. This procedure helps the QA team to understand what needs to be improved. Therefore, as an outcome, all the requirements are fulfilled and correctly applied to the final software. 

    3. Helps to Take Correct Decisions

    The requirement traceability matrix allows a company to make correct decisions with the assistance of its structure. It guides the company and allows them to understand the main design of their product. It also helps the QA team to understand how a requirement implementation might impact on the final design of the software. 

    4. Project Management 

    The requirement traceability matrix can easily manage any development project. A company can track its progress by analyzing the requirements listed by the RTM. It can also analyze the realistic outcome by simply analyzing the requirements. 

    To aim for a better RTM implementation, an individual must enhance their project management skills and further grow in their role. Enrolling in renowned PRINCE2 courses is an exceptional way to bag lucrative opportunities.

    Types of Requirements Traceability Test Matrix

    Let's learn about the types of requirements traceability matrix that companies are currently implementing. Traceability Test Matrix can be broadly classified into three kinds:

    1. Forward Traceability

    Forward traceability is one of a kind of traceability test matrix widely used among companies. Companies use it to guarantee that the requirements of their software are implemented properly after a strict run test. 

    The core objective of forward traceability is to ensure that the software development is heading in the correct direction while implementing all the requirements. In forward traceability, the requirements are usually mapped in the forward direction. 

    2. Backward Traceability

    Backward traceability is also known as reverse traceability. This is the second type of traceability matrix. It ensures that requirements like code, designs, and other tests are enhanced within the storage limit. 

    This means that backward traceability prevents the developing product from crossing its specific space limit and ensures that the product does not leave the correct track. In backward traceability, the requirements are usually mapped in the backward direction. 

    3. Bi-directional Traceability 

    Bi-directional traceability can be easily interpreted from its name that it is an amalgamation of both forward traceability and backward traceability. It ensures that all the requirements have been tested and fulfilled. It can also alter the glitches of a product and resolve any bug problem.

    What are the Components of Requirements Traceability Matrix?

    RTM is developed following organizational norms and requirements, although it typically involves test cases, bug IDs, and reference numbers for baseline documents. The common components are as follows: 

    • Requirement ID or Requirement Number: A summary is provided and listed in the proper sequence for every design specification. 
    • Requirement Type: Assembling or classifying the functional requirements of the company 
    • Requirement Description: a brief explanation of the prerequisite 
    • Unit Test Cases Reference / Identification number 
    • Integration Test Cases Reference / Identification number 
    • System Test Cases Reference / Identification number 
    • User Acceptance Test Cases Reference / Identification number 
    • Trace to Test Script: The preparation of test scripts is necessary for the practical test process.

    How to Create Requirements Traceability Matrix? [Step-by-Step]

    Here are the steps for creating a requirements traceability matrix: 

    • Identify the Requirements: Begin by listing all of the requirements that must be included in the traceability matrix. 
    • Define Traceability Relationships: Determine the interdependence of the requirements. 
    • Choose a Template: Select an appropriate template for the traceability matrix. You can create a custom template in Excel or use one from online resources. 
    • Create Traceability Matrix: Create the traceability matrix using the chosen template. 
    • Fill in the Requirements: Enter the requirements into the matrix, including their respective IDs and descriptions. 
    • Define Traceability Relationships: Fill in the traceability relationships for each requirement. 
    • Review the Matrix: Review the traceability matrix to ensure that all requirements have been included and that the traceability relationships are accurate. 
    • Update the Matrix: As the project progresses, update the traceability matrix to reflect any changes in the requirements or their relationships.

    Example of Requirements Traceability Matrix

    It is easier to understand RTM with the help of a requirements traceability example. Here is a requirements traceability matrix example: 

    For Business Purposes

    • BR1: There should be an option that allows composing emails. 
    • Writing email option has been incorporated for BR1 
    • Run Test Case (RTC1): In the first run test case the writing email option works perfectly. 
    • Run Test Case 2 (RTC2): In the second run test, the writing email option fails to work. 
    • All the unsuccessful run tests would be noted and mapped in the RTM with other test results. 
    • Every information is mapped down inside the RTM in tabular format. This is also known as the requirements traceability matrix template. 

    Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) Template

    Requirements traceability matrix templates can assist project teams in establishing clear relationships between requirements and other project artifacts such as design documents, test cases, and defects. 

    Teams can save time and ensure that all relevant information is included in the matrix by using a pre-built template. Additionally, templates can aid in the identification of any missing requirements and facilitate communication among project stakeholders.

    Below are the two RTM templates:

    Requirement Traceability Matrix Tools

    Various requirement traceability matrix tools are required to identify the requirements easily and rapidly. These tools have been listed down below: 

    1. ReQtest: This is a cloud-based RTM tool. This tool helps the experts trace and change the requirements rapidly. 
    2. Visure Requirements: This RTM tool ensures a 100% traceability rate to the companies. It is mainly used for industries that deal with safety and business. 
    3. Modern Requirements4DevOps: This is a modern RTM tool that can trace a product's requirements during any given stage. This tool can be found in TFS, VSTS, and Mircosoft Azure.

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    Benefits of Requirement Traceability Matrix

    There are various advantages of the requirement traceability matrix that have been discussed down below: 

    • Companies are opting for requirements traceability matrix as it guarantees full test coverage and bug detection. 
    • It is also used to discover inconsistent information and requirements of a document. 
    • RTM also allows numerous corrections for a run test. 
    • RTM enhances the quality of run tests conducted by the QA team. 
    • Documentation of various data is a very important job role of a manager. It has also increased due to the usage of RTM. 


    The demand for RTM is growing rapidly as more companies are adopting it on a huge scale. Hence, this is creating plenty of job vacancies for skilled aspirants. Proper knowledge and degree will make one eligible for these job vacancies. KnowledgeHut's courses on Project Management are the ultimate courses one can opt to learn more about the traceability matrix (TM) and requirements traceability matrix (RTM).

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What are the components of an RTM?

    There are four main components of the required traceability matrix. These four matrices are:

    • Test case identifier
    • Requirement identifier
    • Test case status
    • Requirement summary test
    2How is an RTM created?

    The requirement traceability matrix is created by analyzing the main product demand of the client. After that, all the required pieces of information are collected, and then the requirements traceability matrix template is created. After creating an RTM template, the QA team will start implementing the requirements to receive a desirable end product.

    3Who uses an RTM?

    The Test Engineers use the requirement traceability matrix. They use an RTM for all the modules and send it to the Test Lead. The Test Lead compiles all the RTM in testing into a single document after finally analyzing them.

    4Who prepares RTM?

    The required traceability matrix or RTM is prepared by the Test Engineers. They create an RTM for all the available modules. Later, all these modules are merged into a single RTM document by the Test Lead.

    5Who is responsible for the requirements traceability matrix for testing?

    The test engineer will produce the RTM for every assigned module and send it to the test lead. The test Lead will visit the repository to see if the Test Case is present, after which the Test Lead will compile and create just one required RTM document.


    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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