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Requirements Traceability for Better Software Applications

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By : Priya Jhingan   99 or more times read
Submitted 2013-06-04 06:04:02

Requirements management is the process of documenting, analysing, tracing, prioritizing and agreeing on requirements and then controlling change and communicating to relevant stakeholders. It is a continuous process throughout a project.

Requirements traceability is concerned with documenting the life of a requirement and to provide bi-directional traceability between various associated requirements. It enables users to find the origin of each requirement and track every change that was made to this requirement.

Requirements Traceability – Benefits

Requirements Traceability is concerned with documenting the relationships between requirements and other development artifacts. Its purpose is to facilitate:
• the overall quality of the product(s) under development
• the understanding of product under development and its artifact
• ability to manage change
• Not only the requirements themselves should be traced but also the requirements relationship with all the artifacts associated with it, such as models, analysis results, test cases, test procedures, test results and documentation of all kinds.
• Even people and user groups associated with requirements should be traceable.

Tracing Requirements using Enterprise Architect

Enterprise Architect, the design and modeling toolset from Sparx Systems is widely used by Business Analysts across the world to model and manage requirements.

Relationships Window

Relationships window feature in Enterprise Architect helps to display all the relationships related to a single element such as:
• The relationship type
• Any stereotype on the relationship
• The source and target elements in the relationship (the selected element can be either one in the relationship)
• The direction of the relationship
• Any stereotype on the related element
• The related element type
• The roles, if defined, of the target and source elements in the relationship
The figure below shows the ‘Relationship’ window in Enterprise Architect which is used to trace the requirements.

Traceability Window

The Traceability window feature in Enterprise Architect enables to quickly see how elements are connected and how they influence each other.
• When an element is selected, it immediately becomes the top point in the Traceability window
• When a diagram is selected, all elements in the diagram are listed in the Traceability window, enabling you to use any of them as a starting point.

Traceability window is used to
• Locate related elements in the Project Browser
• View the properties of related elements
• Show the diagrams where related elements are used
• Add related elements to the current diagram
• View the source code for related elements
• Change the display using various window toolbar options

Relationship Matrix

In Enterprise Architect, Relationship Matrix is a spreadsheet display of relationships between model elements within a package or between two different packages. You can filter the selection of relationships shown, according to:
• The element type of the source and target elements in each relationship
• The relationship type and direction
• The package(s) in which the source elements and target elements are held

The relationship matrix shows all the relationships of a specified type between source and target elements by:
• Listing the source package elements down the side of the matrix
• Listing the target package elements across the top of the matrix
• If a relationship exists between a source and target element, changing the background color of the intersecting grid square and displaying an arrow indicating the direction of the relationship

The figure below shows the ‘Relationship Matrix’ window in Enterprise Architect which is used to trace the requirements.

Such advanced features offered by Enterprise Architect for requirements traceability greatly enhances the quality of the software application and facilitate delivery on time and within budget.

Author Resource:- Jhingan Priya, practicing Author and writing several topics including Requirements traceability and Enterprise Architect .

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