Out of the labyrinth: Leveraging other disciplines for requirements traceability
Imagine a world in which luggage never comes, Fido remains lost, forgeries cannot be distinguished from the genuine, a gallon of petrol in one gas station is not equivalent to a gallon in another, tainted peanut products cannot be recalled and disease runs rife. Without the ability to trace, one may anticipate such a world. Tracing is one of the oldest skills possessed by the human race and was vital to the survival of early hunters. Over millennia, mankind has adapted this skill to other areas, ranging from metrology to epidemiology. Software systems engineering is a relatively new discipline that employs tracing, but it appears to exhibit some unique characteristics. This paper examines tracing and its underlying concepts across a number of disciplines to highlight the specific challenges associated with tracing requirements. It draws upon these disciplines to illustrate how existing practices could be leveraged, and to clarify a priority for research and practice.