Requirements Management Tools Selection - 10 Tips

Employees on requirements traceability matrix working on his laptop

What is the Role of Requirements Traceability in Different Industries & Why Do You Need the Right Traceability Tool?

Requirements traceability refers to tracking and tracing an item or product’s history, location, or application. In other words, it is the capacity to follow the “genealogy” of an item, from its origin through its production and distribution stages to its final use and disposal.

There are many reasons why traceability is essential. In some industries, such as the food and pharmaceutical industries, traceability ensures safety and quality control. In other sectors, such as the automotive and aerospace industries, traceability is used to meet regulatory requirements and avoid liability in product defect or recalls. 

Microsoft Excel as a Common Requirements Traceability Tool

As organizations increasingly look for software to give them a competitive advantage, the demand for requirements traceability has proliferated. While many commercial and open-source tools support requirement traceability, Microsoft Excel remains a popular choice for many organizations.

Despite its limitations, Excel remains a popular choice for requirements traceability due to its flexibility, low cost, and wide availability. However, it is always vital to be aware of its limitations when choosing the right tool for your project.

1. MS Excel is Time-Consuming

One of the biggest complaints about using Excel for requirement traceability is that it can be very time-consuming. For example, manually tracing each one in Excel can take time if you have a large project with hundreds or thousands of requirements.

2. MS Excel is Not User-Friendly

Another common complaint about Excel is that it is not user-friendly, especially for those unfamiliar with the program. For instance, creating links between requirements and other project artifacts can be difficult, and navigation can be challenging.

3. MS Excel is Limited in Functionality

Excel also has limited functionality when it comes to requirement traceability. In this case, it cannot automatically generate reports or provide real-time updates. Additionally, Excel cannot support more complex traceability relationships, such as multiple parents or children.

4. MS Excel is Prone to Errors

Using Excel for requirements traceability can lead to huge errors. For example, if requirements are entered incorrectly, or links are not properly created, the traceability matrix can be inaccurate. This explains why it is crucial to have someone familiar with Excel and traceability matrices to develop and maintain the matrix.

Why You Should Consider Doc Sheets for Requirements Traceability?

Doc Sheets is a requirements traceability tool that can ensure that your project’s requirements are met. This tool visually represents how each requirement is linked to every other requirement and the tests and design elements that correspond to it. This makes it easy to see which requirements are still outstanding and which ones have been adequately addressed. Some of the critical benefits of Doc Sheets include:

1. Improved Efficiency

By automating requirement traceability, Doc Sheets can save you a considerable amount of time that would otherwise be spent manually tracing requirements. In addition, it provides an easy-to-use interface that makes it simple to get started with traceability.

2. Better Quality

Doc Sheets can help you improve the quality of your project by ensuring that all requirements are being met. In addition, the system can help you identify potential problems early on before they become costly issues. Therefore, using Doc Sheets can save you both time and money in the long run.

3. Compliance

If your business entity is subject to compliance regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA, then using Doc Sheets can help you ensure that your project meets these requirements. This is because Doc Sheets provides a complete audit trail of all changes made to requirements  and who made those changes.

4. Improved Communication

Another critical benefit of Doc Sheets is improving communication between team members. This is because it provides a central repository for all project information, making it easy for everyone to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Also, by using Doc Sheets, team members can easily collaborate on requirements, which can help avoid misunderstandings and potential conflict.

5. Greater Visibility

Doc Sheets provide a clear and concise view of the requirement traceability for your project. This makes it easy to communicate the status of your project to stakeholders and identify potential areas for improvement.

Importance Of Traceability in Different Industries

Requirements traceability is a fundamental aspect of any industry that relies on software development to create or enhance products and systems. It helps to explain the relationship between customer requirements, system requirements, and test cases. This makes it possible to track progress, manage changes, and verify that the final product meets the customer’s expectations.

The real benefits of requirements traceability in different industries have been highlighted below.

Medical Device Industry

FDA regulations require that all medical device manufacturers have a system to track finished products and components back to their design specifications. This is necessary to determine the root cause of any issues during use. In some cases, it may be required to recall a batch of devices or components if there are safety concerns. Traceability also helps to support post-market surveillance activities.

Software Development Industry

Traceability is essential to quality assurance and testing in the software development industry. It helps ensure that all requirements are met and that the final product meets customer expectations. Additionally, traceability can be used to identify areas of improvement in the development process.

Systems Development Industry

In systems development, requirements traceability helps understand the impact of changes on the system. It also makes it possible to compare different design options and verify that the system meets all requirements. Additionally, requirements traceability can be used to identify potential risks and issues during development.

Embedded Systems

In embedded systems, requirements traceability is essential to ensure that the system meets all safety and performance requirements. It also helps to identify potential risks and issues during development. Therefore, traceability can improve the quality of the final product in an embedded system.

As you continue to look for innovations that can impact your industry, it’s essential to consider Doc Sheets for requirements traceability. This system automates your traceability and makes it simple for you to manage every aspect of traceability. Doc Sheets will help replace your time-consuming and inefficient traceability system with a system that works and doesn’t miss any tracking system.