Requirements Traceability Matrix



In the Software Development Life Cycle, one of the most crucial jobs of the QA team is to ensure that all requirements are covered in the test cases. The test coverage of the application can be calculated by tracing every test case to its original requirements, to do this process  Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is used. In this blog, let’s see what RTM is, its types, how to create an RTM, its advantages, and a template for RTM.

What is The Requirements Traceability Matrix


Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM) is a document that helps to track each requirement from its beginning to the final stage of product development. This document is presented in the matrix form to show the mapping between each requirement with its test cases along with other project artifacts such as design, coding, bug reports, etc.,

The main purpose of RTM in testing is to trace the product requirements, its testing process, and any issues that may have been found in the testing process throughout the product life cycle. RTM helps to guarantee that the product meets all user requirements and is tested thoroughly.


Types Of RTM


There are three types of RTM namely Forward, Backward, and Bi-directional traceability matrix.

Forward Traceability Matrix


 In the forward traceability matrix, the requirements are mapped to their corresponding test cases. This type of RTM helps to verify that every requirement has a suitable test case, thereby there is no functionality left untested. It helps to ensure that the project moves forward as planned with each requirement leading to specific deliverables.

Matrix Model

Rows => Requirement ID

Column => Test Case ID


Backward Traceability Matrix


In the Backward or Reverse Traceability Matrix, the mapping is created from the test cases to their original requirements. The main objective of this type is to confirm that the project does not consume more than what is required in terms of design, coding, or testing elements that do not align with the specified business requirements. This type helps a lot in conducting impact analysis because every component of the project can be easily traced back to an initial user requirement.

Matrix Model

Rows => Test Case ID

Column => Requirement ID 


Bi-Directional Traceability Matrix


 This method is a hybrid approach, it is created by combining both forward and backward traceability matrices. It guarantees that all business requirements have a test case for it and there are no extra test cases added for a particular requirement. This dual-focused strategy has both forward and backward traceability matrix advantages.

Matrix Model

Bi-directional Traceability Matrix => Forward traceability matrix + Backward Traceability Matrix


Components Needed to be Included in RTM


Here are some key components that needed in RTM for all testing activities

Requirement ID: It is the unique identifier for each requirement in software specifications.

Requirement Description: It Is a brief explanation of the software requirement. It helps testers to understand the intention of each requirement and the expected functionality of the final product.

Test Scenario ID: It is the unique identification number for each test scenario.

Test Scenario: A test scenario is a high-level description of how the function or the feature of an application should work.

Test Case ID: Like requirement ID, each test case has a unique identifier, this helps easy tracking and referencing of test cases.

Test Case Description: This description shows the purpose, scope, and action of the test case.

Test Results: This is the outcome of the executed test cases, which shows the test case is passed or failed, along with any relevant comments on the findings or bugs.

Bug ID: If the test case fails, then a bug ticket is created. Each bug ticket has its unique ID. The bug ID is also linked with its corresponding test case.

Bug Description: This description shows what bug is found while testing the test cases and how the current behaviour is not aligning with the original requirement.

Resolved Status: This indicates whether the bug is fixed or not and provides, and shows there are any unresolved issues in the User requirement.

Comments: It provides additional notes on user requirements for better understanding or observations taken while conducting the testing process.


Advantages of Using RTM in Test


  • RTM is the best tool to check that every user requirement has a test case for it. Therefore, it helps to ensure that all user requirements are fulfilled and delivered in the final product.
  • It also helps to understand if any extra test cases are added that are not part of the user requirement.
  • When any user requirement is updated or removed, RTM helps determine which test case needs to be modified or removed or which test cases need to be newly added for the updated requirement.
  • In RTM each test case is associated with its requirement, which allows testers to plan effectively which test cases need to be tested for each user story.
  • When a test case fails, RTM helps to identify the associated user requirement which helps to trace the entire track of the bug.
  • RTM allows us to keep track of the overall test status, test results, bugs found from testing, and the bug’s status, which helps to provide clear and consistent documentation in the testing process to the team.

How to Create RTM


Here is a simple guide for creating RTM for testing in an Excel sheet. This step shows what component needs to be entered in each Column. The Row shows the connection between each component.

Step 1: Gather all the requirements of the project. This includes both functional and non-functional requirements of the application. Make sure that each requirement is explained clearly. Give a unique identification for each requirement. Add Requirement ID in the first column and Requirements in the second column.   

Step 2: Add Test Scenario ID and Test Scenario next to the Requirements column. Write a test scenario for each requirement and give a unique test scenario ID for them. Each requirement can have multiple test scenarios, so make sure the test scenarios are aligned with its requirements correctly.

Step 3: Develop a test case for each scenario. Every test case should have its unique identification number and description which shows its purpose, scope, and action. Add Test Case ID and Test Case Description column next to Test Scenario. Each test case should align correctly with the test scenario.

Step 4: Add the Test Result column, which is going to show whether the test case is passed or failed while the test case is tested.  

Step 5: Create a Bug ID and Bug Description next to the test result column. If a test case fails, create a bug and align it to its corresponding test case.

Step 6: Add resolved status, which shows whether the bug is fixed or not.

Step 7: Add a comments column in the end, it shows any comments that clarify requirements or test execution or issues found while testing.




Requirements Traceability Matrix is the most useful tool not only for test planning but for overall project management. Using RTM in the project helps to find the potential risk in the early stage by finding gaps in the test coverage. With the help of RTM, testers can improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the entire testing process.