Use cases are a very popular tool for new business analysts, but they can be overused.
I provide some guidance on the types of requirements that can be expressed well via Use Cases.
HOW TO WRITE A USE CASES
There’s a lot of material on the internet that will mislead new business analysts into using use cases for expressing the wrong kind of requirements. Don’t Fall Into The Trap!
Let’s start with the absolute basics..
WHAT IS A USE CASE?
A BA tool used to express the user interaction with a system. More specifically, use cases are one tool a BA has in their toolkit to express requirements and specifications.
WHEN TO PRODUCE USE CASES
- Knowing the type of requirement you’re working with determines what tool you’ll be using to express your requirements.
- There are many types of requirements that need to be captured and analysed and there are different tools that you can use to express these requirements.
- The use case is a good candidate for expressing requirements at the user interaction level. Another way to express these types of requirements are mock-ups.
- Once you’ve gathered requirements and have identified them the type of requirements requirements you need to determine what level of detail you need.
DETERMINE THE LEVEL OF DETAIL YOU NEED TO EXPRESS
A use case can be documented at different levels of detail, depending on the level of detail needed. A BA under tight deadlines may produce a bare bones use case where as BA’s with more time will produce fully dressed use cases.
BARE-BONES USE CASES
The simplest version of a use case which contains a title and a primary flow or alternate flow. This may be used in a situation where you don’t have too much time to produce a use cases.
use case attributes:
- Primary Flow
- Alternate Flow
FULLY DRESSED USE CASES
A very comprehensive version of a use case which contains extra attributes and a lot more detail.
extra use case attributes:
- Business Rules
- Primary Actors
- Secondary Actors
- Stakeholders, and their Interests
What other tools does the BA have to express business requirements and specifications?
It depends on what layer of the solution you’re working on expressing. Each level can be expressed with different tools and techniques.