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Keywords: Diagramming, use case diagrammingInformation visualization

Use Cases

A use case is a list of actions or event steps typically defining the interactions between a role (actor) and a system to achieve a goal. The actor can be a human or other external system. Use cases apply to equipment, devices, or business processes. 

Business use case

"Abstract-level use case" refers to the business process being described and the external entities that belong to the process. The business use case will define the sequence of actions that the business needs to perform to give a meaningful results.

System use case

"Implementation use Case", are often less detailed than the business use case and refer to specific processes that will be carried out by different parts of a system.

In the context of diagrams- use case diagram is a behavioral UML diagram typeIn the Unified Modeling Language (UML), a use case diagram can summarize the details of your system's users (also known as actors) and their interactions with the system. To build a use case diagram, a set of specialized symbols and connectors are used.

Generally, use cases are also understood in the business context as a mock-up,  "business scenario," or user story. The "user story" is similar to use cases in terms of what they seek to accomplish- a description of how the system will carry out a specific business process to fulfill the stated requirements. Unlike a step-by-step enumeration of the process, a scenario is much more free-form. A user story describes how the user would experience the functionality of the system. As suggested, it is a story that describes the tasks to be carried out, what information is seen, and how the user interacts with the system. 

Elements of a Use Case

  • Actor- anyone or anything that performs an a behavior.
  • Stakeholder- anyone who is interested in the behavior of the system.
  • Primary Actor- a stakeholder who interacts with the system to achieve a goal.
  • Preconditions- what must be true to happen in order for the system to work.
  • Triggers- the events that cause the use case to be initiated.
  • Main success scenarios- use case in which nothing goes wrong.
  • Alternative paths- expectations if something goes wrong in the system.

Examples of Use Cases

Use cases can be written or visualised- there are several diagrams available on the blog, a Seibert Media sponsered diagramming tool, which allows people or businesses to showcase business processes, devices, equipments, etc.  Below is a list of just a few different use cases and how diagrams can assist.

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This content was last updated on 04/21/2021.

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