Challenge 2: Purposed

Traceability is fit for purpose and supports stakeholder needs.


  • Description

    In the vision scenario, traceability helps the engineer to detect missing stakeholders during requirements elicitation, to identify missing and conflicting requirements, and to demonstrate compliance to regulatory codes. Traceability also helps the engineer to see the impact of new and modified requirements, and facilitates the requirements negotiation and validation process. Traces are used to retrieve the context and rationale for decisions, to examine costs and to verify compliance to product requirements. Traceability supports the engineer explicitly in all aspects of her daily work.

  • Problem Addressed

    Traceability will not be used in practice unless it is perceived as useful or is mandated. However, the understanding of what people need traceability for and how people actually use traceability is currently poor. Further, traceability cannot be created or maintained effectively if the required tasks to do so are not themselves understood and supported, and this understanding of what individuals and teams need to do to create and maintain traces is equally poor. The stakeholder community for both establishing and using traceability is potentially vast, and the skills and incentives of these stakeholders vary widely. Tools are frequently purchased to enable traceability but, because they are often insufficiently configured to support these specific stakeholder requirements for traceability, they rarely realize their potential.

Research Projects

Major Research Project:

Traceability Profiles and Patterns

Define and instrument prototypical traceability profiles and patterns (i.e., typical stakeholder requirements for traceability and recognized approaches for their satisfaction in traceability solutions).

Supporting Research Projects:

Research Project 2.

Create a profile of prototypical role, task and context-based stakeholder requirements for traceability, including scenarios of end-use for traceability, along with patterns for their implementation.

Research Project 3.

Instrument a mechanism to both use and evolve this resource of profiles and patterns, based on characterizing the needs and properties of projects, organizations and domains, and by integrating feedback from practice.

Research Project 4.

Propose and agree metrics to measure effectiveness in all areas of the traceability process, with a particular focus on its end-use.

Research Project 5.

Develop a Traceability Body of Knowledge (TBOK), to define the traceability terminology, profiles and patterns, practices, techniques, methods and tools, and to include resources on case studies, lessons, experts, benchmarking, etc.

Research Project 6.

Perform studies to determine whether stakeholders find automated methods and tools fit for purpose.

Industry Practice

Industry Practice 1.

Practitioners consult and contribute to an evolving Traceability Body of Knowledge.

Industry Practice 2.

Practitioners draw upon traceability profiles and patterns when designing and implementing a traceability solution for their project, organization and domain.

Industry Practice 3.

Practitioners routinely measure the effectiveness of all aspects of their traceability process, and contribute these data to the traceability community.

© Center of Excellence for Software Traceability