If we were to survey retail IT executives in North America, most would certainly agree that the concept of requirements traceability makes a lot of sense. The benefits to being able to track a requirement from its origins, through its development, and right through to its eventual deployment are undeniable:

  1. All stakeholders would have end-to-end process visibility into each project;
  2. Errors and omissions would be flagged and addressed before development;
  3. All areas affected by change requests could easily be identified and accounted for;
  4. Verification and validation that all requirements have been met would be assured.

There is an international organization called the Center of Excellence for Software and Systems Traceability (CoEST) that was founded in 2006 to tackle the pervasive challenges of implementing effective software and systems level traceability.

Their “Grand Challenge” is to make traceability a ubiquitous process that is always there, without ever having to think about getting it there, because it is built into the engineering process. Their goal is to make traceability effectively “disappeared without a trace.”

In order for that to happen, they propose that the following 7 challenges must first be overcome:

  1. Fit for Purpose: Traceability needs to be requirements driven and stakeholder requirements for traceability always need to be clearly defined and measurable.
  2. Cost-Effective: Traceability needs to be implemented without hindering the delivery of good ROI on any given project.
  3. Configurable: Traceability needs to be configurable moment-to-moment in order to accommodate changing stakeholder needs.
  4. Trusted: All stakeholders need to have full confidence and trust in the traceability process being used.
  5. Scalable: Traceability needs to be scalable to accept various types of artifacts and levels of granularity in quantity.
  6. Portable: Traceability has to be capable of being exchanged, merged and reused across projects, domains, product lines and supporting tools.
  7. Valued: Traceability has to provide tangible benefits to all stakeholders.

Having worked with major retailers to implement custom commerce solutions for more than 15 years now, we’ve observed first-hand that the Retail IT segment has a long way to go before the utopian scenario of the CoEST’s Grand Challenge can become a reality.

Sadly, many retailers don’t adequately capture requirements for any given project, let alone implement traceability to ensure their successful implementation.

To address this problem and advance the cause of the CoEST, we’ve developed a 3-step process that addresses each of the 7 challenges above. We invite you to learn more about this and how it can be implemented into your own organization by downloading our new white paper entitled, “How to Make Your Next Retail IT Project a Success”.

While our solution does not yet make traceability ubiquitous, it does ensure that enough benefit will be there to foster far better on-time, on-budget and on-spec project delivery on your future projects.

Download our White Paper about fostering IT Project success