How to Optimize Product Development With Use Cases: Identifying the Criteria of a Good Tool

  • Developers didn’t understand the user scenarios correctly and implemented the features differently from what was planned;
  • During a lengthy discussion with the team members, you drifted away from the initial idea and now are unable to recreate it;
  • Designers created functional components which weren’t initially planned;
  • The same case was interpreted and implemented differently in different places, which caused an increase in development time and made UX more complicated;
  • During testing, considerable errors are left unnoticed;
  • The team changes: new members are introduced while the team’s leading members have already left.
Two Use Case forms: a text document and a UML diagram
  1. A clear heading, preferably containing the outcome of the use case. Like, “Post a request.”
  2. The leading users or participants. You can identify them as one of the following:
  • “The user and the system.” E.g., during authorization;
  • “A few users and the system.” E.g., if you’re describing communication in a chat;
  • “The system and the system” if you’re describing internal processes of the system;
  • “A few systems and the system”;
A simple Use Case example
  • context of use,
  • where the user came from to arrive at this use case scenario,
  • additional conditions,
  • the trigger,
  • the goal.
An example of an extended Use Case with clarification
An example of a Use Case with alternative scenarios included in the main one
  1. Create one template for all the project’s use cases. It’s not bad if it changes in the future. But you should have one so that your team won’t create a new layout for every new use case. Otherwise, your use cases will be hard to write and even more difficult for others to understand.
  2. Create a glossary for the terminology used. Suppose your team actively uses some specific language or works on a project in a particularly narrow niche. Then you should definitely create a glossary to include the terms and their definitions. Refer to it each time someone from your team writes a use case.

Useful links:

  1. Use Case template in Google Docs
  2. A website with articles and free e-books on use cases by Ivar Jacobson, the creator of this methodology
  3. A short video on the topic of use cases on YouTube
  4. An article by Usability.gov

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