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PMP Q#8 – Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM) in Agile

Q8. What is the best approach to prepare Requirement Traceability Matrix (RTM) in agile-based projects?

A. RTM is part of the Definition of Done
B. RTM is prepared in a retrospective meeting
C. RTM is usually not needed
D. Product Owner prepares RTM

The correct answer is C

Let’s first explore what Requirement Traceability Matrix is – 

The Requirement Traceability Matrix looks like a grid to link product requirements from their origin (project goal)  to the deliverables that satisfy them.  The RTM helps to see if requirements and respective deliverables meet the business purpose.  

We can put requirements in the middle of the grid  & there could be forward and backward traceability.

For each requirement in the grid, we can do Backward Tracing to see –

  • Why do we need this requirement? 
  • What kind of business objectives is getting met by implementing this particular requirement? 
  • Who needs it? 
  • What is the source of this specific requirement?

Sometimes, a stakeholder asks, why do we have this requirement? What value is it adding? So you can go back, look at the requirement source, and give those answers. So here, RTM is a handy tool to say why we need a particular requirement. 

 There could be a situation when you want to know more about a requirement. If we go in a forward direction, you see –

  • What are you doing in solution to implement this particular requirement? 
  • Which deliverables are taking care of it? Which design will support it? Which test will test it? 
  • Which particular document elaborates on it? 

Requirement Traceability in Agile: 

You need Requirement Traceability in each project, be it Agile or predictive. But, in Agile projects, You don’t need an explicit Requirement Traceability Matrix as requirements tracking is there organically. You can see traceability from the product backlog to the sprint backlog, and the increment produced. The Product Backlog is a prioritised list of all the requirements, and this priority directly reflects the project vision and goal.

Also, you frequently show work to stakeholders using iteration review, validating the scope to see if the increment serves the purpose. This way, you may not need a separate document to track requirements. Of course, you may need to create a separate RTM document to adhere to compliances even in Agile projects, if any. But in general, you don’t need an explicit document. 

So option C is the best answer – RTM is usually not needed.

Now, look at other options to clarify how well you got an idea related to the Requirement Traceability Matrix. 

how can an RTM be a part of the DoD? It is the wrong option.

Option B – “RTM is prepared in a retrospective meeting” – Retrospective meeting is all about inspecting and adapting on process part of the work rather than focusing on the traceability of the requirement. So this is the wrong option.

Option D – “Product Owner prepares RTM” – It might happen that’s a possibility, but not a standard job. So, anyone can prepare it when it is needed. However, you don’t have a dedicated guy who is expected to do a Requirement Traceability Matrix preparation. The product owner is expected to prioritise the Product Backlog but not necessarily prepare the Requirement Traceability Matrix. So this is the wrong option.

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