Edgewall Software

Requirements Management

Trac can be configured to support requirements management. There are some plugins available as well as a plugin request for building a requirements management solution in Trac. On this page one possible approach is presented for doing so.

Before you start

Make sure you know your process and environment:

  • Which types of requirements do you have? System requirements, functional requirements, test cases, performance requirements?
  • Who owns the requirements? There may be more than one stakeholder in the project and each stakeholder has the responsibility to understand and prioritise their own requirements.
  • Who writes the requirements? The tech people or maybe management people? It may be impossible to drag your management people away from MS-Word c.s., so you may need a Word document importer.
  • Is there a predefined workflow for requirements, eg draft -> in review -> approved -> closed ?
  • Is the workflow dependent on the type of requirement?
  • How do you manage changes to requirements?
  • Are roles and permissions defined in the process and are they understood by all stakeholders?
  • Is an approval process defined on the requirements?
  • It may be necessary to import data from other tools or departments. For example the test department may be using their own tooling and even their own bug tracker.

This process review should help to understand whether Trac with the appropriate plugins is a viable solution. Don't do that by counting bullet points, but by actually using it for a (sub)project. Instead, with the right collection of plugins or writing new plugins, the specific needs can be fulfilled and your solution will exactly match your process.

Requirements management using Trac

The following sections describe a bare bones implementation for requirements management using some available Trac plugins.

Environment type

Each project lives in a separate environment with its own database. This way you may not accidentally alter data not belonging to your current project because of a misconfiguration (e.g. broken permissions) or bug in one of your plugins. It makes access control easier which may be important.

After the project is done one may revoke all write permissions and archive the complete environment so the current state of requirements is frozen.

Requirement types

To distinguish requirements and test cases at least two new ticket types must be created:

  • requirement
  • testcase

If you want to use your Trac also for issue tracking, then keep the standard ticket types. There is no need to create special types for each level of a ''V model'', but this is certainly possible.

For administrating ticket types go to the Admin area of your Trac installation or use the command line:

$ trac-admin /path/to/projenv ticket_type add requirement
$ trac-admin /path/to/projenv ticket_type add testcase

TracAdmin describes the command line interface in more detail.

Defining roles

It may be necessary to define additional permissions to have more control of the requirements workflow. For example there may be a distinct group for requirements review and approval while the QA department is responsible for closing requirements.

To define the additional permissions REQUIREMENT_APPROVE and REQUIREMENT_CLOSE add the following to your trac.ini file:

[components]
tracopt.perm.config_perm_provider.ExtraPermissionsProvider = enabled

[extra-permissions]
REQUIREMENT_ADMIN = REQUIREMENT_APPROVE, REQUIREMENT_CLOSE

Note that this also defines the permission REQUIREMENT_ADMIN, which grants REQUIREMENT_APPROVE and REQUIREMENT_CLOSE.

For more information see ExtraPermissionsProvider.

Creating specialized workflows

A workflow for a requirement is very different from a standard issue workflow. With th:MultipleWorkflowPlugin you can create specific workflows for each new type.

Add this to your trac.ini file:

[components]
# Enable MultipleWorkflowPlugin
multipleworkflow.* = enabled

[ticket-workflow-requirement]
# Create special workflow for tickets with type 'requirement'
# Note that special permissions are used here
leave = * -> *
leave.default = 1
leave.operations = leave_status

approve = new, reopened -> approved
approve.operations = del_resolution
approve.permissions = REQUIREMENT_APPROVE

reopen_verified = closed -> reopened
reopen_verified.name = Reopen
reopen_verified.operations = set_resolution
reopen_verified.set_resolution = from verified
reopen_verified.permissions = TICKET_MODIFY

reopen_approved = approved -> reopened
reopen_approved.name = Reopen
reopen_approved.operations = set_resolution
reopen_approved.set_resolution = from approved
reopen_approved.permissions = TICKET_CREATE

remove = new, reopened, approved, closed -> removed
remove.name = Remove this Requirement permanently
remove.operations = set_resolution
remove.set_resolution = removed
remove.permissions = TICKET_MODIFY

verify = approved -> closed
verify.name = Verify the Requirement and mark
verify.operations = set_resolution
verify.set_resolution = verified
verify.permissions = REQUIREMENT_CLOSE

[ticket-workflow-testcase]
leave = * -> *
leave.default = 1
leave.operations = leave_status
...

This results in the following control flow:

In this workflow special permissions as defined in section Defining roles are used to control access. You may use the full power of TracWorkflows here, for example assigning new owners on state change.

Using one of the following validation plugins, correct values in required ticket fields can be enforced:

You have to adapt the given workflow to your own process.

Parent - child relationships

There must be some kind of parent - child relationship between tickets, so one may follow the chain of requirements in forward and backwards direction. The following plugins can be used for this:

For requirements tickets the th:ChildTicketsPlugin adds buttons to the ticket page to create a child ticket of type requirement or testcase. Any child tickets are directly shown on the ticket page.

See th:ChildTicketsPlugin/Examples for some screenshots of the plugin in action.

Add the following to your trac.ini file:

[childtickets]
# Allow child tickets for tickets of type 'requirement'
parent.requirement.allow_child_tickets = true
# Restrict child ticket types
parent.requirement.restrict_child_type = requirement, testcase
# Define the table headers to be shown for child tickets
parent.requirement.table_headers = summary, type, status, component, description
# No child tickets for ticket type 'testcase'
parent.testcase.allow_child_tickets = false

[components]
# Enable ChildTicketsPlugin
childtickets.* = enabled
childtickets.childtickets.tracchildticketsmodule = enabled

[ticket-custom]
# Define ticket custom field for use with ChildTicketsPlugin
parent = text
parent.format = wiki
parent.label = Parent ID

With the given settings only tickets with type requirement or testcase are allowed as children of requirements tickets. Testcase tickets can't have any children. If you use your environment also for issue tracking, then it may be necessary to change the configuration to allow other ticket types like defect or task tickets.

See the th:ChildTicketsPlugin page for more configuration options.

You can use th:ChildTicketTreeMacro to show a ticket hierarchy everywhere where wiki content is allowed, which may be useful for reporting purposes.

Requirements grouping

Grouping of requirements may be achieved by specifying different requirement types. Each level of the V model is mapped to a different ticket type. This is probably not practical enough when you have several thousand requirements for a single level.

Additional grouping may be done using the component field of a ticket or a custom ticket field. This can be done using the custom field docid, because a requirement typically starts life in an external document with a unique document id which is imported into Trac after approval. To prepare for import and subsequent grouping add the following to your trac.ini file:

[ticket-custom]
# Define field for grouping of requirements
docid = text
docid.format = text
docid.label = Document ID

By grouping it's possible to find requirements belonging to some part of your product/project. For example in hardware development you may group all requirements pertaining to the power supply by one id, thus making it easy for the power supply people to check for fulfillment.

Cleaning up the ticket page

To some users the fields on the ticket page may be overwhelming. With the th:CondFieldsGenshiPlugin or th:DynamicFieldsPlugin it is possible to hide unneeded ticket fields or prevent undue changes. It's unlikely that a requirement morphs into a test case, so preventing any accidental damage is a good idea.

With the th:CondFieldsGenshiPlugin add the following to your trac.ini file:

[components]
condfieldsgenshi.* = enabled

[condfieldsgenshi]
# We only tweak the 'type' filed atm
tweaks = type
default = enable

# Disable ticket type field
type.type_cond = requirement, testcase

Possible improvements

What has been described so far is a basic solution that may already work for you. You possibly want in addition:

Summary

Install the following plugins:

Add the following settings to your trac.ini file:

[childtickets]
# Allow child tickets for tickets of type 'requirement'
parent.requirement.allow_child_tickets = true
# Restrict child ticket types
parent.requirement.restrict_child_type = requirement, testcase
# Define the table headers to be shown for child tickets
parent.requirement.table_headers = summary, type, status, component, description
# No child tickets for ticket type 'testcase'
parent.testcase.allow_child_tickets = false

[components]
# Enable ChildTicketsPlugin
childtickets.* = enabled
childtickets.childtickets.tracchildticketsmodule = enabled
# Enable CondFieldsGenshiPlugin
condfieldsgenshi.* = enabled
# Enable MultipleWorkflowPlugin
multipleworkflow.* = enabled
# Remove this if you need no special permissions
tracopt.perm.config_perm_provider.ExtraPermissionsProvider = enabled

[condfieldsgenshi]
# We only tweak the 'type' filed atm
tweaks = type
default = enable
# Disable ticket type field
type.type_cond = requirement, testcase

# Remove this section if you need no special permissions
[extra-permissions]
REQUIREMENT_ADMIN = REQUIREMENT_APPROVE, REQUIREMENT_CLOSE

[ticket]
# Use MultipleWorkflowPlugin for ticket workflows
workflow = MultipleWorkflowPlugin

[ticket-custom]
# Define ticket custom field for use with ChildTicketsPlugin
parent = text
parent.format = wiki
parent.label = Parent ID
# Define field for grouping of requirements
docid = text
docid.format = text
docid.label = Document ID

[ticket-workflow-requirement]
# Create special workflow for tickets with type 'requirement'
# Note that special permissions are used here
leave = * -> *
leave.default = 1
leave.operations = leave_status

approve = new, reopened -> approved
approve.operations = del_resolution
approve.permissions = REQUIREMENT_APPROVE

reopen_verified = closed -> reopened
reopen_verified.name = Reopen
reopen_verified.operations = set_resolution
reopen_verified.set_resolution = from verified
reopen_verified.permissions = TICKET_MODIFY

reopen_approved = approved -> reopened
reopen_approved.name = Reopen
reopen_approved.operations = set_resolution
reopen_approved.set_resolution = from approved
reopen_approved.permissions = TICKET_CREATE

remove = new, reopened, approved, closed -> removed
remove.name = Remove this Requirement permanently
remove.operations = set_resolution
remove.set_resolution = removed
remove.permissions = TICKET_MODIFY

verify = approved -> closed
verify.name = Verify the Requirement and mark
verify.operations = set_resolution
verify.set_resolution = verified
verify.permissions = REQUIREMENT_CLOSE

# Create your testcase workflow here
[ticket-workflow-testcase]
leave = * -> *
leave.default = 1
leave.operations = leave_status
...

On the command line enter the following commands to add ticket types:

$ trac-admin /path/to/projenv ticket_type add requirement
$ trac-admin /path/to/projenv ticket_type add testcase
Last modified 4 months ago Last modified on May 31, 2022, 11:33:44 AM
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