Comparison of artifact grouping methods in requirements management

There are several methods by which you can create and work with groups of artifacts in the Requirements Management application. The following table provides information about these methods, which can help you decide when to use a particular method.

For more information about a method, click the method name.

Table 1. Comparison of grouping methods in the requirements management application
Method Purpose and Use
One primary use of collections to provide a group of artifacts with a unique name and URL. The collection can then be used to:
  • Populate development plans in the Change and Configuration application
  • Create an association with test plans in the Quality Management application
In both cases, the goal is to establish traceability between individual requirements and other project artifacts. In this context, you can use collections to create a set of requirements that you can deliver in a release or milestone.

Collections are artifacts like any other artifact, and can thus have their own unique name, URL, attributes, and tags.


Used in much the same way as collections, but with added capabilities. For more information, see modules and differences between collections and modules.


You can use tags to categorize artifacts in a project and view commonly tagged artifacts by using filters on the Artifact page or displaying the results of a saved view in the project dashboard.

You might want to use tags for informal or temporary designations.


You can use attributes to track project status and to organize artifacts by common properties such as owner, priority, and risk. Changes to attribute values can indicate an impact on traceability relationships. For more information, see attributes.

You might want to use attributes for formal and persisting designations.

You must create a filter to view artifacts based on attributes.


You can use folders to quickly group and filter artifacts.

Folders are convenient to use, but they can be more rigid than other grouping methods. For example, an artifact can be added only to one folder, but it can be added to multiple collections, can have multiple tags, and can optionally have multiple attribute values.

Questions to ask when deciding on a grouping method

When deciding whether to use collections, tags, attributes, or folders to organize data, it can be helpful to ask specific use questions. For example,
Is it easy to make mistakes when organizing data?
If so, it might be best to select an organizational system that helps people do the correct thing or that makes mistakes visually apparent.
Which kinds of queries does the tool make it easy for me to ask?
Filters make it easy to include or exclude tags, attribute values, and folders, though they are a little less flexible than collections.
Is it a large or small effort to maintain the organizational system?
If your information categories are stable year-to-year, maintenance must be minimal; otherwise, maintenance might be very time consuming.