Traceability describes relationships between two or more elements throughout the development process. Usually, Project managers visualize these relationships using traceability matrices that depict many-to-many relations. In Project Management, these can be between requirements and workstations, requirements and test cases, requirements to requirements (dependencies), or multiple project deliverables. Working on a Project with good traceability, you’ll always know who does what and how tasks, documents, and deliverables interconnect. A traceability matrix helps to highlight any issues that are occurring with specific evolutions of the project. Once successfully implemented, PMs use traceability to track multiple factors for success and ultimately enhance the entire project.
However, a key to project traceability lies within regular Project Documentation, not the matrixes themselves, as they derive from Requirements, Deliverables, or Project Steps described in other documents.
So, what can you do to improve the traceability of your projects?
1. Organize project documentation in standardized documents. Create templates for all the documents your organization develops for new projects. Update these templates to align with the latest improvements in Business Processes, Policies, and Procedures.
2. Ensure traceability of requirements impacting each other to improve accuracy.
3. Every requirement should have team members associated with it. You’ll thank yourself for knowing who to ask about the project in 3 years. Ensure that stakeholders are connected to requirements directly.
4. Do not hesitate to create informal pieces of documentation helping with points you didn’t fully develop previously. One good example is to describe the reasoning behind decision-making. This way, you’ll be able to reinforce your point of view later on or review these decisions during Lessons Learned.
5. Perform regular audits for compliance and regulations. As requirements alter, they can violate laws, policies, or procedures.
The project Manager is responsible for traceability of the project. Success of a project can depend on the correct detection of relations and conflicts within the project.