Traceability is hard to ignore when it comes to project management. Whether you’re a project manager, business analyst, test manager, developer, or a product owner, you need to ensure you are delivering as per the business objectives.
Tracing the requirements for each sprint, release or project without requirement tool gets difficult in this fast-paced development environment. Irrespective of the organization and adopted project management methodologies, each release can have a wide range of requirements. Some projects may only have a handful of requirements, while other projects could have hundreds of requirements that can be managed through requirement tool.
Gartner explains why companies underestimate the benefits of traceability:
“The most widely adopted tools for storing tasks continue to be general document software such as Microsoft Office or Google Docs (40% to 50% of the market) due to cost, availability, and familiarity. Yet these often lead to poorly managed tasks, thus exceeding any cost-benefit the tools themselves have. Tasks end up captured in a variety of documents and spreadsheets that are unmanaged versions with no traceability or reuse. Creating a more costly user acceptance testing cycle, both at execution as well as remediation of issues found late in the process, where they are far more costly to address.”
Therefore, we use traceability tools to avoid such costly errors and increase project efficiency. In this article, we will show how traceability can help project manager manage the projects efficiently.
Traceability isn’t just about mapping requirements, stories, tasks, or subtasks back to goals and objectives in the project management. It involves establishing an imaginary line between requirements/ stories/tasks and related artifacts (technical design, code components, test cases, releases, etc.).
To better understand the importance of project traceability, let’s look at various requirement management scenarios:
Scenario 1: You just heard that a critical Epic, Story, or task needs to change and accounted for in the upcoming release. You need to know how this change will impact dependent stories, tasks, or subtasks. Will this change the system design plan already in place for your team?
Scenario 2: Your QA team just found a critical bug in the latest feature, and you’re a week away from launch. Do you ship with the known bug and hope to patch it later, or delay the release? Will this impact your upcoming audit? What other aspects are affected?
These scenarios, and countless others like them, affect your teams every day. There is no chance that a manual or static documentation can support accurate impact analysis and quick decision-making that can lead to project efficiency.
Therefore, a dedicated traceability tool can be relied on to systematically track and trace a requirement/story/task’s life. Compared to discrete documents (spreadsheets), the centralized platform of these tools lets your team make easier, more accurate and informed decisions about products.
The traceability tools allow you to evaluate the impact of a potential change quickly and easily that ultimately leads to the project efficiency. For a given Epic, story, or tasks, you can identify the affected derived tasks or subtasks.
Since traceability ensures each Epic, story, tasks, or subtasks to be aligned with the business objective, you can easily avoid scope creep.
The centralized platform of these tool highlights any missing requirements, defects, and discrepancies.
Test Managers consequently have to plan better, optimize the amount of testing necessary, and eliminate duplication and leakage. Using a requirement management tool to track test coverage becomes easy, significantly reducing the manual checking process. You can efficiently map each test case to the source tasks as well as the defects.
One of the main reasons for implementing a traceability requirement tool is to simplify regulatory compliance.
These tools map interdependencies throughout the development cycle. Thus, displaying a historical report on tasks, test cases, and bugs. The real-time collaboration enables teams from different geography to stay on the same page in tracking the tasks or issues.
The level of visibility about who made each change and for what reasons have become critical to meet compliance.
In short, once you pick the right project traceability tool, you can streamline the development process of even the most complex project. The requirement management tool saves the entire team’s time and effort, accelerates development lifecycles, reduces the risk of error, and results in improved product quality and regulatory compliance.
Links Explorer Traceability & Hierarchy is one such traceability tool available for Jira users. It allows you to track your epics, stories, requirements, tasks, etc. in Jira. Links Explorer helps improve project traceability at each phase of the development cycle.