I will be visiting The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, School of Information Studies (UWM/SOIS) on Wednesday, January 8th. My hosts have graciously asked me to make a short presentation and I have chosen Use Cases as my topic.
I consider Use Cases to be the most significant development in system analysis methodology in the past 30 years. Consequently, I focus several sessions of the Systems Analysis and Management course that I teach at Illinois/GSLIS on use cases as well as the diagrams and the analyses that accompany them. I find use cases to be important for many reasons, including:
- When taken as a group (as they appear in a UML use case diagram) use cases become a succinct way to express the overall scope of the project. Use cases that are included in the use case diagram are within scope. Potential use cases that are missing from the use case diagram are outside of scope.
- Well-written use case specifications illustrate how actors within the use case will interact with the system to accomplish their work goals. This compares favorably to earlier methodologies that produced documents primarily focused on the information that programmers needed to construct a system.
- Use cases can serve as a common expression of scope and functionality for systems analysts, system users, and system builders. This facilitates a meeting of the minds that makes for a robust expression of the requirements and leads to satisfied stakeholders at the conclusion of the project.
Over the years, I have used a number of text books for my Systems Analysis and Management course. Authors have been struggling to decide how much attention to give Structured Analysis (using data flow diagrams and related documents) versus how much attention to give to Object-Oriented Analysis (using UML-based use case diagrams and related documents). Currently, I am using the following text book, which I believe does the best job of striking a balance in addressing both topics:
- Hoffer, J. A., George, J. F., & Valacich, J. S. (2014). Modern systems analysis and design (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
The following is a list of links to the materials that I will be using during my presentation at UWM/SOIS. It represents a subset of the materials that I use when I cover the Use Cases unit in my Systems Analysis and Management course:
- Slides for UWM/SOIS Use Cases Presentation
- ANONLIS Webstore Case Introduction
- ANONLIS Webstore Context Diagram
- ANONLIS Webstore Use Case Diagram
- Use Case Specification Template
- Pick Order – Use Case Specification
Discussing these items should take up all of the time allotted for this short presentation. Anyone who has an interest in seeing the full class syllabus, schedule of lectures and assignments, or any other materials used in this course can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.