Toward reference models for requirements traceability
Requirements traceability is intended to ensure continued alignment between stakeholder requirements and various outputs of the system development process. To be useful, traces must be organized according to some modeling framework. Indeed, several such frameworks have been proposed, mostly based on theoretical considerations or analysis of other literature. This paper, in contrast, follows an empirical approach. Focus groups and interviews conducted in 26 major software development organizations demonstrate a wide range of traceability practices with distinct low-end and high-end users of traceability. From these observations, reference models comprising the most important kinds of traceability links for various development tasks have been synthesized. The resulting models have been validated in case studies and are incorporated in a number of traceability tools. A detailed case study on the use of the models is presented. Four kinds of traceability link types are identified and critical issues that must be resolved for implementing each type and potential solutions are discussed. Implications for the design of next-generation traceability methods and tools are discussed and illustrated.