As you develop a use case document, you are creating a map to your project’s end goal. In my years of facilitating successful business analysis projects, I can confidently say that having clarity will be a make-or-break factor in satisfying stakeholders.
And you can’t gain that clarity without solid use cases. The caveat: though there is a long list of use case benefits, these documents don’t come without their challenges.
To give you a clear sense of your end goal with respect to use cases, we’ll start with the benefits.
Benefits of Creating Use Cases
The use case helps us to understand and shape both the problem we are trying to solve, as well as the solution to that problem. Think of it as a guideline to the solutions that you are going to implement.
In addition to the clarity, use cases capture operational requirements from the user’s perspective. This will give you even greater foresight of the end goal to facilitate a seamless user experience.
At the end of the day, use cases outline a clear and consistent description of what the system should do and are understandable by all stakeholders, including…
- Business Partners.
We’re not finished with the list of benefits just yet. Here are a few more major advantages to consider:
- Use cases are an excellent source for the testing team.
- Use cases help testers with test script writing and as a source for information during testing.
- Use cases provide the ability to trace functional requirements into actual classes and operations in the system.
Challenges of Creating Use Cases
Business analysis certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. Use cases are no exception. But like anything worth doing, the stumbling blocks are well worth the prize. (Which is a high salary and respectable position.)
As you create your use cases, be aware of the following obstacles, so that you can overcome them. Look out for…
- The Language Challenge. There is a bad habit among business analysts—and that is to revert to tech-speak. Instead use natural language that clarifies your logic and overall mission.
- The “Everything At Once” Challenge. When you write everything in one session, you’re faced with an issue. In other words, you may leave something vital out of the equation.
Instead, write your summary goals first, then the main flow, then alternate flows, and finally the process flow diagram.
Or you can reverse the order and start with the process flow diagram—either way is acceptable. There is no right or wrong here. Complete the use case process in the order that works best for you.
- The Perfection Challenge. You don’t have to be perfect. You’re not looking to pen the Constitution here; you simply want easy readability and clarity.
Do You Know How to Craft the Best Use Case Possible?