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The Traceability Matrix

written by: Suvo • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 8/16/2010

A traceability matrix is basically a Six Sigma project management matrix table, which is used to ensure that all the customer requirements have been translated to product specification or features.

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    Traceability matrix is used mainly for Six Sigma project management of software projects. However the traceability matrix is a Six Sigma project management tool, which can be used for mechanical Six Sigma projects (i.e. DMADV or DMAIC) as well.

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    Steps for Traceability Matrix Creation

    Let’s talk about creation of a traceability matrix and it's importance in Six Sigma project management. Following are the steps required to create a traceability matrix:

    • Let’s take the example of a Six Sigma project for designing a water bottle.
    • Any Six Sigma design project is initiated with definition of business problem. Voice of customer or voice of stakeholders then used for translating the business problem to specific customer requirements. These customer requirements should be tabulated with specific ID numbers. For our example of designing a water bottle, customer requirement table may look like (Click on the image to enlarge):

    Requirement list for Traceability Matrix 

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    • All the customer requirements need to be taken care in Analysis and Design phase. Once design is over, we need to ensure that all the requirements have been taken care and at the same time, no unnecessary features have been created in the product. In our case of design of the water bottle , product features can be listed as (Click on the image to enlarge):

    Feature list for Traceability Matrix 

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    • Now we have the customer requirements and product feature /specifications. Now we will create traceability matrix, the Six Sigma project management tool for mapping customer requirements to product features. In our case of water bottle design Six Sigma project, the traceability matrix will look like (Click on the image to enlarge):

    Traceability Matrix 

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    Conclusion

    Traceability matrix is a Six Sigma project management tool, which can be used for mapping customer requirements with delivery specification. Traceability matrix is used widely for software testing projects; however benefits of traceability matrix can be obtained for mechanical design projects as well. One simple example of using traceability matrix for Six Sigma project management of mechanical project is explained above. Same methodology can be used for complex mechanical projects as well.