When planning a project, it’s important to understand exactly what requirements you need to meet before moving forward. For example, this could mean understanding technical specifications or unique user requirements before beginning development. To help keep project requirements organized, use a requirements traceability matrix template.
A requirements traceability matrix is a specific type of requirements document that highlights two different options and compares their specifications. It uses a “many-to-many” relationship, which means it compares several different factors to each other within each option. For example, a chart that compares the specs of two different cell phones is an example of a generic traceability matrix. This is because it compares different specifications, such as battery life, camera quality, screen size, and more. Often used in software testing, a traceability matrix helps outline technical requirements and business requirements in a cohesive way.
A requirements traceability matrix template is a blank version that you can use to quickly create a new requirements traceability matrix. It’s used to help expedite the project planning process, so when it comes time to create a requirements traceability matrix, your team can just quickly fill in the table instead of creating a new one from scratch.
While often used specifically to highlight technical specifications in software development, there are many other use cases for a requirements traceability matrix. Here’s why you should use one for project management:
Easy to duplicate: When you have a requirements traceability matrix template, you don’t have to go through the process of creating a brand new matrix every time you need to outline a new requirement.
Customizable: The good thing about using a template is that all of the major components are already included for you. If you do need any customizations to fit your specific team requirements, you can easily edit the template for that individual matrix.
Creates consistency: When you provide your team with a template, it becomes the basis for processes moving forward. Creating a requirements traceability matrix will help create consistency for every matrix in the future, since your team will already be familiar with the tool.
While requirements traceability matrices can vary from team to team, there are a few general pieces of information that every requirements traceability matrix should have.
Requirement name and description: This is the actionable name of a specific requirement needed from the project, plus a quick description so the individual responsible for handling the requirement has the context they need.
Requirement ID: While often used specifically for software testing, a requirement ID can be used to differentiate similar, but different, functional requirements. If this is the case, every requirement should have a unique ID number so the team can easily refer back to it if necessary.
User story: This is a quick explanation of a software feature written from the end-user’s point of view. It typically follows the format, “As a [persona], I want to [software goal], so that [desired result].”
Deliverable: This is the end product a developer creates that aligns with the details laid out in the requirements traceability matrix.
Assignee: This is the individual who is responsible for fulfilling a specific requirement.
List View. List View is a grid-style view that makes it easy to see all of your project’s information at a glance. Like a to-do list or a spreadsheet, List View displays all of your tasks at once so you can not only see task titles and due dates, but also view any relevant custom fields like Priority, Status, or more. Unlock effortless collaboration by giving your entire team visibility into who’s doing what by when.
Forms. When someone fills out a Form, it shows up as a new task within an Asana project. By intaking information via a Form, you can standardize the way work gets kicked off, gather the information you need, and ensure no work falls through the cracks. Instead of treating each request as an ad hoc process, create a standardized system and set of questions that everyone has to answer. Or, use branching logic to tailor questions based on a user’s previous answer. Ultimately, Forms help you reduce the time and effort it takes to manage incoming requests so your team can spend more time on the work that matters.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Approvals. Sometimes you don’t just need to complete a task—you need to know if a deliverable is approved or not. Approvals are a special type of task in Asana with options to “Approve,” “Request changes,” or “Reject” the task. That way, task owners get clear instructions on what actions they should take and whether their work has been approved or not.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
GitHub. Automatically sync GitHub pull request status updates to Asana tasks. Track progress on pull requests and improve cross-functional collaboration between technical and non-technical teams, all from within Asana.
Zendesk. With Asana's Zendesk integration, users can quickly and easily create Asana tasks directly from Zendesk tickets. Add context, attach files, and link existing tasks to track work needed to close out the ticket. The integration also provides continuing visibility across both systems, so everyone is kept up to speed regardless of which tool they use.
Jira. Create interactive, connected workflows between technical and business teams to increase visibility around the product development process in real time—all without leaving Asana. Streamline project collaboration and hand offs. Quickly create Jira issues from within Asana so that work passes seamlessly between business and technical teams at the right time.
Requirements traceability matrices should at least include a requirement name and description, a requirement ID, a user story, the key deliverable, and the individual responsible for fulfilling the requirement.
While requirements traceability matrices are often created using spreadsheet software like Excel, they’re best used in collaborative work management software that everyone can access in real time. When created in a static spreadsheet, your team can get mixed up with past version histories. Using collaborative work management software like Asana ensures that everyone has the same information at all times.
While not a hard set requirement in Agile, a requirements traceability matrix can be used to help ensure a product is developing in a way that meets the requirements laid out by the matrix. A requirements traceability matrix can help provide guidance for product owners to choose which tasks need to go into specific sprints and to shape the product development roadmap.
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