RE: Bi-directional traceability and docs

Subject: RE: Bi-directional traceability and docs
From: Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- aps -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 14:39:35 -0700

Dan writes:
"We're going thru the pains of CMMi here, and one of the objectives is
to institute "bi-directal traceability", which, in a nutshell, means
that the spec points to the places in the code and doc that need to
change to meet a user req, and the code and the doc reflect the user req
that prompted a change. And my group here has been asked to consider
implementing this traceability in our doc."

WHHHHOOOOA. We're doing CMMI here too (BTW the legal spelling is with
the capital I) but we are only level 2. What level are you

In Level 2, traceability is defined as "the evidence of an association
between a requirement and its source requirement, its implementation,
and its verification."

"A little background. We release new software versions every 6 months,
each new version consisting of a number of user req "enhancements",
which are then summarized in Release Notes, and propogated throughout
the installation, configuration, and user doc. The Release Notes list
each "enhancement" that goes in a version, but the other docs do not
mention specific enhancements by number. The request is that the other
pieces of doc also begin mentioning the specific "enhancements"."


If you have need to communicate it to users, I would tend to confine it
to the Release Notes based on what you are saying. Do you have user
acceptance testing? If not, having the specific requirement in the
Release Notes can be helpful, but it sounds like you are already doing

For business analysts, the need may be to trace specific requirements
for various reasons such as to determine they have been done (instead of
or in addition to user acceptance testing). Beyond level 2, you might
want to track the requirements for metrics and so the business analysts
can find out which docs are affected by which type of requirements, how
much time such changes take, etc. That's a higher level of CMMI than 2,

To put the specific requirements numbers in the installation,
configuration, and user doc would confuse the reader and not really help
the business analysts in their job. For the first need (to determine
they have been done) you are either going to use test plans and test
cases linked back to the specific requirements and/or the Release Notes.
For implementation, you probably need a work plan. Linking the specific
requirements to your work plan will put you good stead for future
collection of metrics, provide the BAs with the knowledge of which work
products had to be changed per requirements, and maybe even help out the
doc department in planning.

Disclaimer: We are doing CMMI Level 2 and there is no talk here of
putting Requirements traceability into user docs, so I have no actual
experience with it. But if faced with that idea, I would counter with a
plan similar to the one I have delineated above.


Rose A. Wilcox
Center for Process Excellence, CHQ 8th Floor
Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- aps -dot- com

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we doing? Xander, you get me started! We are totally overreacting!
Xander: But it's fun, isn't it?
"I Robot, You Jane"

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