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Test Management 101: Traceability

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Why do we test? Testing proves that our application works properly. Traceability, or being able to trace requirements to test cases, forms the foundation of your testing strategy.

Test traceability is the ability to link a test to a set of requirements and verify that the application works as expected.

Traceability matters as your product scales. When your application is small, it’s easy to pinpoint what’s broken. Most of these requirements can be tracked in a spreadsheet. As the application gets more complex, so does everything else. A larger app is going to have multiple development teams, developing in parallel – so you’ll have different versions of the product being tested for different things.

In that scenario, it’s easy to see how quickly keeping track with a spreadsheet becomes impossible. This is the point where teams are better off investing in a good test management product. It helps with automated testing, unit tests, multi-layered tests, and UI-driven tests.

Still not convinced? Here are three ways traceability helps development:

Forward traceability

The ability to go from requirement to test case. This is important as POs plan new features and products.

Backward traceability

The ability to go from test case back to the app is important for quality assurance. This allows for discovery and descriptive bug reporting. The better the bug report, the more context a developer gets about the error.


When new features are added to an existing product, you’re merging new code into existing. You’ll need to extend test coverage to include this additional functionality.

Now you’re probably thinking, “Test traceability sounds great! Let’s strive for 100% traceability in our organization!” Sorry, 100% traceability isn’t a thing. There’s no way that you can deliver timely software with 100% test coverage.

However, a clear testing strategy is an efficient way to bring confidence to your releases, as it traces functionality to actual test cases. Traceability lets you quickly test specific areas of your application whenever you’re adding functionality or making fixes. As result, this ensures that what you just built can be verified in your test cases. And that will enable your teams to build and release faster.

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DYK: Zephyr has sophisticated traceability reports that show the links between the requirements, tests, test executions, and any issues that have been created to record defects identified during the testing.

Give it a spin by downloading a free trial.

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