Effective Use Case Development

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Course Description

This class presents an up-to-date, practical guide to use case writing. The class expands on the classic treatment of use cases to provide software developers with a “nuts-and-bolts” tutorial for writing. The course thoroughly covers introductory, intermediate, and advanced concepts in use case development. During the class the instructor will use examples of both good and bad use cases to reinforce the student’s learning.

At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Understand the key elements of use cases
  • Understand stakeholders, design scope and scenarios
  • Develop a use case style guide with action steps and suggested formats
  • Use an extensive list of time-saving use case writing tips
  • Develop a helpful presentation of use case templates
  • Develop a proven methodology for taking advantage of use cases


  • Introduction
  • The use case as a contract for behavior
  • Scope
  • Stakeholders
  • Three named goal levels
  • Preconditions, triggers, and guarantees
  • Scenarios and steps
  • Extensions
  • Linking use cases
  • Formats to choose from
  • On being done
  • Scaling up to many use cases
  • CRUD and parameterized use cases
  • Business process modeling
  • The missing requirements
  • Use cases in the overall process
  • Mistakes fixed

Who Should Attend?

This course is designed for analysts, software engineers, application experts, and technical project managers.

Course Length

4 days

Course Outline

I. Introduction
A. What is a use case?
B. Requirements and use cases
C. Use Cases as project-linking structure
D. When use cases add value
E. Manage your energy

II. The Use Case as a Contract for Behavior
A. Interactions between actors with goals
B. Contract between stakeholders with interests
C. The graphical model

III. Scope
A. Functional scope
B. Design scope
C. The outermost use cases
D. Using the scope-defining work products

IV. Stakeholders
A. The primary actor
B. Supporting actors
C. The system under discussion
D. Internal actors and white-box use cases

V. Three Named Goal Levels
A. User goals (blue, sea-level)
B. Summary level (white, cloud/ kite)
C. Subfunctions (indigo/black, underwater/clam)
D. Using graphical icons to highlight goal levels
E. Finding the right goal level
F. A longer writing sample: “handle a claim” at several levels

VI. Preconditions, Triggers, and Guarantees
A. Preconditions
B. Minimal guarantees
C. Success guarantee
D. Triggers

VII. Scenarios and Steps
A. The main success scenario
B. Action steps

VIII. Extensions
A. Extension basics
B. The extension conditions
C. Extension handling

IX. Linking Use Cases
A. Sub use cases
B. Extension use cases

X. Formats to Choose From
A. Forces affecting use case writing styles
B. Standards for five project types
C. Conclusion

XI. On Being Done

XII. Scaling Up to Many Use Cases
A. Say less about each one (low-precision representation)
B. Create clusters of use cases

XIII. CRUD and Parameterized Use Cases
A. CRUD use cases
B. Parameterized use cases

XIV. Business Process Modeling
A. Modeling versus designing
B. Linking business and system use cases

XV. The Missing Requirements
A. Precision in data requirements
B. Cross-linking from use cases to other requirements

XVI. Use Cases in the Overall Process
A. Use cases in project organization
B. Use cases to task or feature lists
C. Use cases to design
D. Use cases to UI design
E. Use cases to test cases
F. The actual writing

XVII. Mistakes Fixed
A. No system
B. No primary actor
C. Too many user interface details
D. Very low goal levels
E. Purpose and content not aligned
F. Advanced example of too much UI


Students should have a general understanding of object-oriented analysis and design concepts. Students that have attended an object-oriented analysis and design course have fulfilled this requirement. Basic computer skills and a familiarity with Windows-based applications are also a must.

Credits Earned

28 PDU Credits

Course Director

Patrick von Schlag
Mr. von Schlag has more than 25 years of real-world experience managing IT and business organizations. He has served as a consultant, facilitator, and instructor in support of more than 200 ITSM program deployments, with a focus on practical benefits. He holds all 11 ITIL 2011 certifications and runs an accredited learning consultancy focused on Making ITIL Work ™ in real organizations. His customer list includes The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft, Nike, Sears, US Marine Corps, US Army, US Air Force, 2nd and 5th Fleet US Navy, DISA, IRS, Federal Reserve, The Hartford, Citigroup, Amgen, Los Angeles County, Port of Long Beach, GDIT, Accenture, Serco, Deloitte, and hundreds of other market-leading companies.

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