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Traceability Best Practices - Jama Software

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What product made today isnt a system?


As products get smarter, building them right becomes a matter of
managing complexity. Products have more requirements and
companies have globally distributed teams and more products in
their portfolios.
But when a single new product, version or variant has thousands of
requirements and interdependencies, the process of defining,
engineering and managing them grows exponentially more
complicated. Traceability becomes more challenging.
Gartner highlights one of the main reasons companies struggle to
achieve the benefits of traceability:
The most widely adopted tools for requirements continue to be
general document software such as Microsoft Office or Google
Docs (40% to 50% of the market) due to cost, availability and
familiarity. Yet these often lead to poorly managed requirements,
thus eliminating and exceeding any cost benefit the tools
themselves have. Requirements end up captured in a variety of
documents and spreadsheets supplemented by post-it notes in
unmanaged versions with no traceability or reuse. This creates a
more costly user acceptance testing cycle, both in the time to
execute as well as remediation of issues found late in the process,
where they are far more costly to address.Gartner Market Guide
for Software Requirements Definition and Management
Solutions 2014
Document-centric tools might sufficeif all requirements are equal,
and if your team, project and scope are so small that youre the only
person who needs to know how the system youre building is

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impacted.
But its likely that these tools harm more than they help. Heres
what that spreadsheet on your desktop cant do:
manage the complex web of traceability to understand the
relationships between requirements and the people who are
responsible for them
quickly find who and what are impacted by changes to the
system
ensure that each requirement is validated and verified, that the
completed product delivers what was asked for and that the
system has been thoroughly tested
The tool you choose and how you use it influences how efficiently
and effectively youre able to tackle complex challenges and support
engineering and business.
The Top Three Bottom-Line Benefits of Traceability
1. Connect test cases to requirements. If you cant do this,
you cant be sure you havent overlooked something critical.
Anything you miss at any stage can, and usually will, result in
revisions that cost you time and money.
2. Connect system requirements to business/stakeholder
requirements. Same as above: Miss this connection and
youll risk incurring unplanned expenses that can ultimately
affect the launch date, stakeholders confidence and the bottom
lineall three if the changes affect hardware.
3. Improve decomposition. To make sure that components
and sub-components all come together to make a useful,
functional system, you need to relate the lower-level
requirements to the higher-level requirements. Make a mistake
here, and youll likely deal with delays as you scramble to put
the pieces back together and make late-stage changes.
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In many industries, especially those tied to regulatory


compliance, traceability isnt just a best practice, its a
mandate. This paper outlines five ways Jama, a modern
requirements management and validation and
verification solution, helps systems engineers take control
of traceability to keep engineering and business aligned.
Challenges
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You just received
feedback from your best customer mid-project, and a high-level
business requirement needs to change. How will this change impact
the system specification your engineers are working on right now?
How will it impact scope for the upcoming release?
Your QA team just found a show-stopping bug in your most popular
new feature and youre two weeks away from launch. Do you ship
with the known bug or delay the launch? Who is working on that
feature? Who else needs to be notified and weigh in on the
decision? What else does
it affect?
These scenarios occur daily for engineering teams. So,
how do you deal with them? Traceabilitybut if the path
of connections isnt easy to create and follow, it adds to your
problems.
The Advantages of Intuitive Traceability
Traceability should never, ever add complexity. Jama makes it easy
to perform and report on traces so that you stay on time, on budget
and within scope.
For most organizations, the benefits outweigh the time required to
set up traceability by at least 2x. With a consistent process,
structured templates and a modern requirements management tool,
you benefit from an automated and streamlined process:
Minimize Risk

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Grow Productivity
Control Scope Changes
Complete Test Coverage
Improve Quality
Increase Visibility
Reduce Development Costs
Accelerate Innovation
Terminology
Before we get into best practices, wed like to clarify some basic
definitions. Systems engineers know these well, but we want to
make sure you understand our references.
Traceability
As defined by INCOSE (International Council of Systems
Engineering): Traceability documents how the formal
requirements are intended to meet the stakeholder objectives and
achieve stakeholder agreement.
Trace Relationship
Trace relationships are the links between items within the scope of
a project, used to help assess impact on other items when a change
occurs.
Upstream
Upstream relationships, aka backward traceability, looks at the
links between detailed functional requirements back up to the
original customer need and high-level requirements captured.
Using upstream relationships ensures that the evolving product

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remains on track to meet product goals and customer needs.


Upstream relationships help to avoid scope creep.
Downstream
Downstream relationships, aka forward traceability, looks at the
links between detailed functional requirements, test cases, tasks,
defects and other items that support it. Downstream relationships
ensure that youre building the right product.
Coverage Report
A Coverage Report associates requirements with the work products
that satisfy them. Often its used to track tests associated with the
requirements on which they are based and the product tested to
meet the requirement.
Impact Analysis
Using Impact Analysis, you can capture the traceability links
between requirements, specifications, design and tests. You can
analyze relationships to determine the scope of an initiating change.
Version History
Used for change control, a detailed history of each requirement and
other items is documented and stored in a unified system of record,
enabling complete audit trails used over the life cycle of the
requirement. Version histories are required for industry compliance
in specific industries.
Suspect Links
Suspect Links help manage the impact of requirement changes. A
trace relationship (or link) becomes suspect after an upstream
requirement in the relationship changes. A Suspect Links report is
often used along with Impact Analysis for assessing impact before
making a change.

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ISO 9001
ISO 9001 concerns the management of the requirements that your
systems standards must satisfy. According to the International
Organization for Standardization, this standard helps ensure that
customers get consistent, good quality products and services, which
in turn brings many business benefits.
Jama is instrumental in allowing us to document requirements
and define the scope of our projects. Its allowed us to formally
document our applications from change requests to formal
functional/performance requirements and ensure traceability of
requirements.Jonathan Kobaly,
CDG-Inmedius, a Boeing Company
The Five Best Practices for Simplifying Traceability
Trace relationships to represent systematic
decomposition and test coverage
Ensure traceability reporting and proper coverage
using Coverage Explorer
Assess the impact of change before it occurs with
Impact Analysis
Document changes for complete visibility and a
detailed audit trail with Version History
Stay synced with Stream communication. By
referencing people and items through @mentions, you
can easily track comments through filters and history
1. Trace Relationships
As in many aspects of life, your product and system development
success is highly dependent on relationships. All details such as
user requirements, functional requirements, test cases and other
items that define the scope of what youre building are related in

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some fashion, either directly or indirectly. Heres an example of a


common process flow:

Trace relationships to connect artifacts together to map out


interdependencies between the different items. These relationships
are the foundation for effective traceability. Below is an example of
traceability showing both upstream and downstream trace
relationships.
Traceable relationships are as much about connecting the people
involved as they are about connecting all items. Each requirement
in the system has members of your team associated with
itanalysts, architects, development, verification and quality
assurance among themand stakeholders and customers who care
about its status.

When one item changes, it has a ripple effect on other related items
and the people associated with the items. Keeping track of this
ripple effect is crucial to the success of your projects. Its one of the
primary reasons organizations need
intuitive traceability.
Specifically, tracing relationships identifies the individuals and

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teams affected by change and allows them to discuss and make


decisions in context.
2. Coverage Explorer
Reviews are tremendously valuable in Jama. Likewise, the user
interface is very intuitive for 90 percent of the features that users
must quickly access. These are among the top reasons why we
selected Jama as the official Shure RM Tool. The excellent
customer support that we get makes the Jama team (business,
sales and technical staff) feel like an extension of our Shure
staff.Tony Branch,
Product Platform Planning Staff Systems Engineer, Shure
Incorporated
Traceability reporting through Jama Coverage Explorer visually
represents the coverage of your product and system, helping you
align users, maintain quality, meet compliance regulations and
understand the impact of change.
Users can view related items and understand the status of those
items. For example, users can verify that their requirements have
downstream test cases and see what percentage of those test cases
have passed.
In the simple example below, a list of requirements are shown along
with their state in the first column. In the second column, the
downstream verification tests are listed for each requirement. From
this view, teams can see what verification coverage they have, where
verification tests are missing and get high-level verification results.
Every test case has a comment and activity stream accessible to all
users. Testers and contributors can capture decisions, answer
questions and resolve issues transparently and responsively.

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3. Impact Analysis
What if you could anticipate the impact of a change on your project
and the entire team before it occurred? Will this change request
send the development team over the edge? What if you could
predict the whether? These insights are possible with Impact
Analysis. Impact Analysis relies on the trace relationships you set
up, and it reports on the complete picture of all the items that are
directly and indirectly affected.
Heres an example of an automated impact analysis report for a
high-level business requirement. If this requirement changes, three
directly related system requirements, downstream software
requirements and numerous verification tests would all be affected.

4. Version History
Capturing a complete and detailed record of all changes is a critical
element for reaching higher levels of requirements maturity within
your process, such as ISO 9001.
Version History is for those among us who like to (or have to) roll

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up our sleeves and get deep into the details of every change. It also
helps companies meet regulatory compliance standards in fields
such as aerospace and medical devices.

One of the benefits of traceability is having a comprehensive audit


trail of changes, so you can analyze the who, what, when and why of
every change made. At the same time, you can easily roll back to an
earlier version because its all stored in the definitive system of
record and action.
Heres an example of a side-by-side comparison of two versions,
using an automated process within Jama. For efficiency gains, the
specific field that changed is highlighted in yellow, so you dont
have to spend time hunting around the full requirements
specification document to pinpoint and understand precisely what
changed.
5. Real-Time Communication
Consider Jama if you need to support ideation and requirements
workflow Jamas product drives traceability from requirements
to validation, with support for planning and management of
tests. The focus of the vendor has been on ease of use and
collaboration, and a key capability is the Jama Review Center
functionality. Jama offers a strong solution in requirements
management, including traceability to test management and
product delivery.Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Application
Development Life Cycle Management, 2015
How often have you been involved in a project where change

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notice paralysis sets in after a couple of weeks of inbox overload?


Usually it occurs when the entire team is on a project-wide
distribution list, and the project manager is on the hook to send out
an email with the complete 200-page software requirements
specification document attached for every time a minor change
occurs. Right intention, wrong solution.
What happens next? People either waste time hunting around in
the document trying to determine if the latest change is relevant to
them, or, they tune out the email noise and miss an important
change, which is even more costly.
There are smarter ways to keep everyone on the same page.

You need to be sure that everyone impacted by a change is in the


loop. At the same time, you dont want to flood the entire
organization with irrelevant emails. What do you do?
In the example above using Jama, you can instantly send a direct
link to the specific requirement that changed, with version notes, to
only the relevant groups or individual users affected. Notification is
part of the overall change management workflow. Stay in the loop.
Avoid noise.
Organize and Visualize Data As You Like It
The complexity of most systems engineering projects requires a far

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more powerful, elegant and modern solution than inadequate and


inflexible manual and legacy tools.
Jama was designed and built to be an intuitive user experience for
engineering and business collaboration and communication. Its a
web-based platform to help teams solve requirements management
challenges and automate traceability. In the process, you save time
and money, accelerate development cycles, reduce the risk of error
and improve quality and compliance.
Jama improves how you deal with data. The ability to organize and
visualize data is one of the key differentiators for systems
engineering, as shown in the example below.

Picture this: Traceable communication. Documented decisions


and actions. All product and systems info organized and
contextualized from concept to launch. With Jama, its your reality.
Try Jama and see how we can help you solve your teams systems
engineering challenges.

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