A Traceability Matrix is an extremely useful tool for both QA and Development teams alike. It’s existence and upkeep ensures all business and functional requirements are covered by test scenarios and test cases. To use correctly, functional requirements are first mapped to business requirements. Test scenarios are then created and mapped to the functional requirements. The final step maps the test cases to their associated test scenarios. This complex matrix offers complete and comprehensive traceability and ensures 100% test coverage.
In addition to the coverage it offers, traceability matrices also help to highlight any requirement inconsistencies in either the business or functional requirements, sometimes before coding has even started. With regard to coding, a matrix can also be utilized by development teams to map BRD or Functional Specification Document to blocks or units of code to ensure code coverage in addition to test coverage. These additional steps minimize the number of requirement-related defects later on.
Once testing has started, the matrix displays overall defect and execution status for easy daily status reporting. Since the test coverage, and possibly code coverage is mapped to requirements, this helps managers analyze the full impact of any requirement changes as well. At a glance it’s easy to see how many test scenarios and test cases will need to be modified, and what units will require code changes if the coding has already been done.
A Traceability Matrix isn’t just for manual testing either. Automated scripts can be mapped to the matrix using script names in place of the test case IDs. Many test management tools for both automated and manual testing have traceability features included, making their creation and subsequent utilization that much easier.