[Video] The Future of Traceability, Pt. II

Data will provide trends and patterns quickly and trigger when you need to pay attention

Ania Osinska-Bulloff | June 20, 2016

Traceability, interconnected data that helps you understand how the products you’re building are related, has a dynamic future ahead. Last week, Robin Calhoun, Senior Product Manager at Jama Software and Derwyn Harris, Director of Product Marketing, discussed what traceability will look like in the future.

Today, Robin and Derwyn focus on the broader vision of traceability, and also take a closer look at the kind of things specific to the product world that traceability is connecting or tracing to. “We’re connecting any data item in Jama, and we’re also connecting items such as users. There are attributes on the data that you can use to filter your world out by, for instance, requirements I’ve written, vs. the ones that you’ve written,” says Robin. She adds time is always an attribute that matters, and you may or may not filter by it. You can ask whether something was recently edited to navigate your data and keep leveraging it in your discoveries. An important attribute is integrations. Jama integrates with Jira and if you interrelate lower-level requirements to higher-level items, then suddenly relationships are not only occurring between items but also across systems, and across time. This is an approach that goes beyond just linkage between items.

This broader perspective reveals the vision for traceability. “I want it to be so quick to get data back – and all kinds of data – that I will be able to focus less on all little, connected items, and more on trends and patterns,” says Robin. This up-level view would be fueled by traceability and would allow you to quickly see what requirements have certain attributes, or whether there’s a pocket of requirements that have a lot of activity against them, and assess the general trends in your product building process.

Another way to look at the broader future of traceability is coming up with a way to inter-relate different tools more consistently. Traceability is a map for your product. When you look at a map, you have a common concept (and common language) of North, South, East, West, roads vs. railroads, vs. street. However, when building products, different people refer to data a little differently. Requirements are common things but certain attributes can be done in a variety of ways: you can have themes, or objectives, or business strategy. These may or may not relate, but what matters to you is whether you should care. There is so much data you need to interpret, it will be necessary to see a heat map or get triggers, when changes important to you occur, or perhaps building your product is not following the right pattern.

Stay tuned for more on the human intelligence and the AI aspect of modern traceability, and what it means for the customers we work with, especially in the systems space. Robin and Derwyn will continue their conversation about the future of traceability next week.