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One More Use for Use Cases

I attended an interesting presentation, “From Use Case Diagrams to Operational Profiles: Using QFD (Quality Function Deployment) to Find the High Traffic Use Cases in Your System” by Richard Denney.

Denney presented a neat use for your list of use cases. Once you’ve identified your actors and use cases, get a group of stakeholders together and estimate the number of actors who will use a use case in a given time period, and the number of times each actor will use the use case.

From this analysis, it becomes very clear which use cases are most used. This is excellent for prioritizing effort and scope control. If you’re developing, it’s an indicator of where to put most of your development dollars. For third party software evaluations, it helps you determine relative weights for features.

One of the reasons for determining usage in a group is that it promotes discussion about the assumptions around the use cases–a great additional benefit. Where needs such as health and safety are involved, there may be some seldom-used use cases which are also critical, so keep that in mind as well.

This analysis can be done before you even write the use cases. Limited on time? It helps you determine which use cases are the most critical to write.

Denney’s book, Succeeding With Use Cases: Working Smart to Deliver Quality is definitely on my reading list.

Please check out my next post on this topic here

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