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INTERVIEW QUESTION:

Compare a user story versus a use case. What are the essential elements of each? When would you use one versus the other?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 3881 Views // 0 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis, Use Cases, Agile Methods, Requirements Analysis (BABOK KA), General, Elicitation (BABOK KA)

ANSWER

The Essential Elements of User Stories and Use Cases

The essential elements of a user story are:

  • The user
  • Statement of what the user needs to accomplish
  • Why the need to accomplish this

This is often summarized as, “As a <type of user> I need to <what I am going to do> in order that I can <what is accomplished>.”

For example, “As a customer shopping online, I need to view items that match my search criteria in other that I can select an item to purchase.”

The essential elements of a use case are:

  • The Actor carrying out the use case
  • Summary of the use case
  • Success criteria
  • Scenario detailing the steps the Actor follows to achieve the success criteria.

This is often summarized as, “In this use case the Actor <summary of the use case> in order that they can <success criteria>.”

For example, “In this use case, the Actor views items that match their search criteria in order that they can select an item to purchase.”

At the discretion of the business analyst and the template used, a user story and use case may include other relevant information such as (but not limited to):

  • Preconditions
  • Triggers
  • Assumptions
  • Constraints
  • Business Rules

How are user stories and use cases used differently? 

A user story is primarily used as a placeholder for requirements.  Requirements are further elaborated upon using various tools and techniques.

Use cases are used to elaborate upon requirements and provide necessary details.  The scenario included in the use case provides these details.  Use cases can be written at a high level or a more granular level.  A use case is one of the techniques that can be used to elaborate on the user story requirements.

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Thomas Slahetka
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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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