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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Creating Use Case Diagrams

The Use case diagram is used to identify the primary elements and processes that form the system. The primary elements are termed as "actors" and the processes are called "use cases." The Use case diagram shows which actors interact with each use case.

A use case diagram captures the functional aspects of a system. More specifically, it captures the business processes carried out in the system. As you discuss the functionality and processes of the system, you discover significant characteristics of the system that you model in the use case diagram. Due to the simplicity of use case diagrams, and more importantly, because they are shorn of all technical jargon, use case diagrams are a great storyboard tool for user meetings. Use case diagrams have another important use. Use case diagrams define the requirements of the system being modeled and hence are used to write test scripts for the modeled system.

So who should normally be involved in the creation of use cases? Normally, domain experts and business analysts should be involved in writing use cases for a given system. Use cases are created when the requirements of a system need to be captured. Because, at this point no design or development activities are involved, technical experts should not be a part of the team responsible for creating use cases. Their expertise comes in use later in the software lifecycle.

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