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Importance of Traceability and how it can help you manage your projects efficiently

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 gets difficult in this fast-paced development environment. Irrespective of the organization and adopted 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.

As per a leading research firm , most companies still underestimate the benefits of traceability. According to them, “The most widely adopted tools for storing tasks continue to be general document software 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 should use traceability tools to avoid such costly errors. In this article, we will see how traceability can help you manage your projects efficiently.

Importance of Project traceability

Traceability isn’t just about mapping requirements, stories, tasks or sub-tasks back to goals and objectives. 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 these 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 sub-tasks. 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 can be 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.

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 traceability tools lets your team make easier, more accurate and informed decisions about products.

Major benefits of using Project traceability

Produce a high-quality product or releases

The traceability tools allow you to evaluate the impact of a potential change quickly and easily. For a given Epic, story, or tasks, you can identify the affected derived tasks or sub-tasks. 

Since traceability ensures each Epic, story, tasks, or sub-tasks to be aligned with the business objective, you can easily avoid scope creep. 

The centralized platform of a traceability tool highlights any missing requirements, defects, and discrepancies.

Improve Test case management

Test Managers consequently have to plan better, optimize the amount of testing necessary, and eliminate duplication and leakage. Using a traceability 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.

Create a Detailed Audit Report

One of the main reasons for implementing a traceability tool is to simplify regulatory compliance.

Traceability tools map inter dependencies 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. It saves the entire team’s time and effort, accelerates development life cycles, reduces the risk of error, and results in improved product quality and regulatory compliance.

Jira is an excellent choice to manage your stories/ epics/tasks/ bugs or any type of issues. But how do you manage Traceability in your projects?

Do you use any marketplace application for managing the Traceability? Do you have any tips to manage Traceability that you can share with the community?

Do you face any challenges in managing Traceability?

Post your comments :-)

2 comments

Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Sep 01, 2020

Nice article @Deepanshu Natani !

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