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Explain forward and reverse traceability matrix with examples?

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Traceability matrix is a document that maps and traces user requirement with the test cases. Main motto to make sure all requirement are covered in test cases so while testing no functionality can be missed.

Traceability Matrix is used in entire software development life cycle phases:

  • Risk Analysis phase
  • Requirements Analysis and Specification phase
  • Design Analysis and Specification phase
  • Source Code Analysis, Unit Testing & Integration Testing phase
  • Validation – System Testing, Functional Testing phase

Types of traceability matrix
1: forward traceability = Mapping of requirements to test cases. It ensures proper direction of the evolving product (that we are building the right product) 

Req. Capture -> Design Document -> Test Cases .Tracing each unique product requirement forward into the design that implements that requirement, the code that implements that design and the tests that validate that requirement and so on. The objective is to ensure that each requirement is implemented in the product and that each requirement is thoroughly tested.

2: Reverse or backward traceability = mapping of test cases to requirement.Used for to check the end product has met the requirements or not. Backwards traceability helps ensure that the evolving product remains on the correct track with regards to the original requirements (that we are building the product right). The objective is to ensure that we are not expanding the scope of the project by adding design elements, code, tests or other work products that are not called out in the requirements (i.e., “gold plating”).
Test Cases -> Design -> Req. Capture

3: Bi Directional traceability = Forward traceability+ backward traceability.

Benefits of bi-directional requirements traceability include the ability to:

• Analyze the impact of a change
− All work products affected by a changed requirement
− All requirements affected by a change or defect in a work product

• Assess current status of the requirements and the project
− Identify missing requirements

− Identify gold plating or extras

Hi Vrushali,

         Thanks for your good explanation. May I have the sample document for the Traceability matrix(which are all need to follow in testing) document? Right now we are not following any document except Testcase and Bug report. But I am interest to follow the standard. Could u pls help me in this.

Very informative, if its possible to give example then it will be very usefull...

Hi vrushali,


Thankq very much......

Good. I would like share one more traceability matrix from another perspective.

This is called Fault-Traceability. Usually people may not following this but, i think it will help us to have a better confidence about the product quality.

As explained by Vrushali , Requirement traceability matrix is tracing each requirements to its test scenarios and then to test cases to ensure that we have enough test scenarios and cases for each and every requirement to ensure the requirement is implemented as per specification.

Fault-Traceability in other words, Trace the Possible faults in each requirement to the test scenarios/cases. How do we achieve this is, For each requirement, understand the business logic, inputs required to process the logic, and expected outputs. Once we understand this, then think of possible defects that may occur in the requirement with respect to inputs/logic (possible validation issue,logic issue,processing issue) etc.. When we design scenarios ensure that we have scenarios to test the absence/presence  of these faults also.- Trace each possible defects listed to the scenarios. There should be at-least one scenario to handle each possible defects. By this way, we can confidently say, these kind of defects are NOT present in the requirement and have a better sense of quality.

hi vijay

can u send me the management round questions for me its urgent for me please


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