RE: Bi-directional traceability and docs

Subject: RE: Bi-directional traceability and docs
From: Lippincott Richard J Contr ESC/NI <Richard -dot- Lippincott -at- hanscom -dot- af -dot- mil>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 09:30:28 -0400

dan_roberts -at- adp -dot- com wrote:

> 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.

Having worked with a similar concept, it does indeed become a big pain. I tend to agree with the earlier postings that have said the information really isn't that useful for the users who are probably more concerned with the functionality than they are with when a particular aspect of the functionality came into use.

There's also the potential for embarrassment if the reasons get to the users. It may not enhance customer confidence if there's a notation that says something like "The safety interlock features were added by government order after a series of tragic accidents that killed dozens."

If you've got to add the traceability to the docs, I'd suggest keeping them invisible to the users. For example, if you're using Frame, use conditional text for the traceability comments. It would be turned off for the final version to the customers, but you'd retain an archive file for the possible later day when the lawyers come running at you with their hair on fire wanting to know why you made a particular change in a release that went out three years ago.

Rick Lippincott
CITS Senior Technical Writer
3 Eglin Street
Hanscom AFB, MA
(781) 377-9745
DSN 478-9745


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