specifically to address these issues.
Simple Search-based Traceability ("Just Google It!")
We needn't wait for those prototypes to develop further in order to take advantage of some of the powerful ideas in search based traceability. Available search-engines can be used today with the kind of simple-tools mentioned previously in this article, particularly in conjunction with Wiki-webs, and source code and document repositories (as well as project mail-lists and blogs).
What is minimally necessary is to determine the relevant terms or project vocabulary that will yield meaningful search results across the project, or related projects. Wiki-webs are well suited for defining project glossaries and terms, both as definitions, and as documentation of key concepts, patterns, and domain-specific terminology. And if some discipline and conventions/standards can be applied regarding the consistent communication and use of such terms and vocabulary, then using a sensible yet simple combination of all the other mechanisms above can contribute to a lean yet practical traceability solution that covers all or most of a project's traceability requirements.
Traceability should introduce no friction to the development process, particularly if it is to win over some of the agilistas. Focusing on task-based and test-driven development, continuous integration, single-piece flow, and single-source information with a minimum of intermediate artifacts can make this easier with many tools.
Combining basic version-control tool integration with build & test automation (with event logging, notification, and subscription) can automatically log and track tracing information from these activities, which can then be readily queried or scripted to produce necessary traceability reports.
A simple wiki-mechanism (such as Trac, FIT , FitNesse), to define and organize project terms/concepts, use-cases or requests, and related project content can go a long way toward achieving single-sourcing of information with appropriate linkages for subsequent querying & reporting. Use of readily available search-engines on an existing project's knowledgebase (project wikis, blogs, mail-lists, code, specs, docs, tests, models, etc.) along with consistent use of a project's terminology can fill-in many of the blanks for tracing across the lifecycle and its artifacts.
Promising approaches such as event-based traceability, and more sophisticated information-retrieval methods can help automate this, and indeed have been implemented in several tools thus raising the bar for the industry in this area.