Lessons Learned: Traceability on the Run, the Plan First

Share this

traceAlways plan what you wanna do first, running to keep up isn’t fun….

Last month I had a not so pleasant experience regarding a (misdone) traceability, in the sense not done in time!

I always preach that, when you are deriving requirements for whatever next level, the link to the higher level your requirement satisfies should be done right on the spot, immediately! That applies for requirements, standards, legislation, or whatever source a requirement might have. That way the effort for generating traceability becomes negligible. It’s not a separate dedicated activity any more, a task that is excruciating in my opinion, but an integrated activity of requirements development you barely notice. But we are just talking here about a certain approach to it that is best, in my opinion.

So, that’s exactly what has not happened.

We were reusing some old project requirements, on all levels. Time was short, higher level hasn’t started right away updating formalized requirements. But the SW developers need requirements to start implementation. So I’ve written the requirements for them, clarifying and aligning with the customer and entire team.

Gratefully, it wasn’t a very big project, so working like this was manageable, different level requirements could be done in parallel  asynchronously. But then came the time to ensure traceability. And here come the very sad part of the story, when someone (me, of course) had to draw the traceability to the next level, to ensure and prove everything has been satisfied and is consistent.

A painstaking, one week of work using only one mouse button; felt like having to  disentangle the Gordian Knot with only a toothpick. I swear, that’s not work for a human, should be used by correction institutions.

Glad it’s ready now. however the more cruel part was when I thought it’s over and rejoiced, only to discover in half a minute there’s one more document to be satisfied I forgot about.

Never again, if I can help it! It’s OK to start working sooner than process dictates to advance the project, but traceability building should be started as soon as possible and stubbornly conducted together with the requirements deriving.

I don’t even dare thinking of working otherwise on a complex, new / unstable project. But that’s a completely different discussion.