Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bidirectional Traceability of Software Requirements

Requirement Traceability - Bidirectional traceability, What is Horizontal traceability; What is vertical traceability; Why is this required?.......... Similar questions are gallore for any QA Executive. See if this clarifies these doubts:

Following is the 'text' as is, on the terms 'Horizontal traceability' & 'Vertical traceability'
from different sources.

(1) Source: http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/faq/new-faq.html

In the Requirements Management (REQM) process area, specific practice
1.4 states, "Maintain bidirectional traceability among the requirements and the project plans and work products." Bidirectional traceability primarily applies to vertical traceability and at a minimum needs to be implemented both forward and backward (i.e., from requirements to end products and from end product back to requirements).
Vertical traceability identifies the origin of items (e.g., customer
needs) and follows these same items as they travel through the hierarchy of the Work Breakdown Structure to the project teams and eventually to the customer. When the requirements are managed well, traceability can be established from the source requirement to its lower level requirements and from the lower level requirements back to their source. Such bidirectional traceability helps determine that all source requirements have been completely addressed and that all lower level requirements can be traced to a valid source.
Horizontal traceability is also important and is mentioned in subpractice 3, but it is not required to satisfy bidirectional traceability. Horizontal traceability identifies the relationships among related items across work groups or product components for the purpose of avoiding potential conflicts. It enables the project to anticipate potential problems (and mitigate or solve them) before integration testing. For example, horizontal traceability would follow related requirements across two work groups working on two associated components of a product. The traceability across these two work groups enables the work groups to see when and how a change in a requirement for one of the components may affect the other component.
Thus, horizontal traceability enables the project to anticipate potential problems (and mitigate or solve them) before integration testing.
(2) Source:

Author: Tim Kasse
Title: Practical Insight into CMMI
Pg 153-154

Vertical traceability: Traceability `from requirements through the associated life-cycle work products of architecture specifications, detailed designs, Code, unit test plans, integration test plans, system test plans, so forth and back"

Horizontal traceability: refers to the traceability from the requirements to the associated plans such as the project plan, quality assurance plan, configuration management plan, risk management plan, and so forth


(3) Source:

Author: Shari Lawrence Pfleeger
Title: Software Engineering - Theory & practice
Pages: 439-441

Vertical traceability expresses the relationship among parts of the workproduct. For example, vertical traceability of the requirements describes the interdependencies among the system requirements.

Horizontal traceability addresses the relationship of the components across collections of workproducts. For instance, each design component is traced code components that implements that part of the design



Anonymous Anonymous said...

if we are able to track from reg to testcases (forward)in RTM.cant we use the same to track backwards. doesnt it serve th epurpose of bidirection

3:32 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Prasanna Kumar said...

check the second type - horizontal traceability: it doesnt mean u have to trace back in the same direction you did from req to test cases; horiz. traceability means establishing relationship between all related work products i.e. related requirements, related design aspects, related test cases, related code etc... this will help you in performing impact analysis better! vert. traceability helps u to check whether all requirements are satisfied and the hor. traceability helps you to perform impact analysis better when a requiremnet is changed.. is it clear now :)

4:04 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Sumit said...

Good stuff. It help me a lot.
Thanks Tim Kasse.

5:15 AM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger kappi said...

h iprasanna kumar...this is kalpana karthik i've completed my mtech in software engg and i'm looking to getinto sqa field ..i've got good knowledge on auditing reviews ,metrics ..i want to know abt how cmmi model is used in a practical way in this area plz do let me know ...u really presented good stuff
thank q

if can find time plz do mail me to karthik.kankanala@gmail.com

7:59 AM, February 02, 2008  
Anonymous Beauty said...

Thank you so much. You did great job. I am clear on defferent kind of Tracibility matrix.


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