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What is a use case?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 8034 Views // 4 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Unified Modeling Language (UML), Use Cases


A use case is a representation of an interaction between business worker and a business process or a user and an IT system in order to achieve something of value (a goal). Use cases are the ovals that appear in a use case diagram. A use case and a use case description or specification are different. While use cases represent an interaction (usually with a simple verb-noun phrase) use case descriptions/specifications describe the interaction in detail form.

Use cases can be subdivided into business use cases and system use cases.  Business use cases represent the interaction between a business actor and a business process in order to achieve a goal, while system use cases represent the interaction between a system actor, which can be a system user or another system, and an IT system in order to achieve something of value.



Analyst Kris posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 6:55 AM
Use Cases are goals of the software. So by
placing the word “business” in front of them it sounds like we are talking about goals of the business.
Analyst Kris
Priyanka_BA posted on Friday, October 24, 2008 2:07 PM
A use case is a diagrammatic representation of functional requirements. It is used to capture the actions which a system should take while performing a business process. For example Online banking, system should ask the user to login with the userid and the password. Now for a particular bank the business rule here could be that the user should answer the secret question before allowed to be loggen in. Once the user is logged in then he is navigated to the accounts page where user can perform various actions depending upon the usr requirement. So this functionality could be captured using the Use Cases showing the interaction of the system and the user. This simple to understand representation is very helpful to make the stakeholders and also the developers understand that how a particular module or a functionality works.
analyst1 posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 4:01 PM
A use case in software engineering and systems engineering is a description of a system’s behavior as it responds to a request that originates from outside of that system. In other words, a use case describes "who" can do "what" with the system in question. The use case technique is used to capture a system's behavioral requirements by detailing scenario-driven threads through the functional requirements.
Each use case focuses on describing how to achieve a goal or a task."

A use case should:
• Describe what the system shall do for the actor to achieve a particular goal.
• Include no implementation-specific language.
• Be at the appropriate level of detail.
• Not include detail regarding user interfaces and screens. This is done in user-interface design, which references the use case and its business rules
A use case (or set of use cases) has these characteristics:
• Organizes functional requirements
• Models the goals of system/actor (user) interactions
• Records paths (called scenarios) from trigger events to goals
• Describes one main flow of events (also called a basic course of action), and possibly other ones, called exceptional flows of events (also called alternate courses of action)
• Is multi-level, so that one use case can use the functionality of another one.
chikmil posted on Friday, February 14, 2014 11:11 AM
Use case or use case narrative meaning is same?
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.


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