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15 Judging Use Case Quality: Patterns for Writing Effective Use Cases

Sunday, 26 October – 8:30-17:00 Full day

Steve Adolph, WSA Consulting Inc., steve@wsaconsulting.com
Paul Bramble, Emperative, Inc., Pbram47077@aol.com

Use cases are a wonderfully simple concept: describe a system's functional requirements by telling stories about how its actors use it. However, developers are discovering that writing effective use cases is more difficult than they had anticipated. Use case writers frequently must deal with difficult questions, such as:

  • What should be the scope of a use case?
  • How long should a use case be?
  • What level of detail should a use case express?
  • What expertise is required in the use case writing team?
  • How do we provide different levels of detail for different people?
  • Where do I put the requirements for the external interfaces and stored data?
  • Why am I doing this in the first place?

Usually, the answers to these questions is prefixed with an unsatisfying "Well, it depends."

An understanding of basic principles is not enough. Developers need a source of objective criteria to judge use case quality and effectiveness. This tutorial helps fill a critical information gap by presenting a pattern language that provides simple, elegant, and proven solutions to common problems in use case development. It captures the knowledge and experience of successful use case developers in a way that it can be easily used by others, and serves as the basis of a vocabulary describing the properties of quality use cases. As such, these patterns facilitate the development of original use cases and provide a diagnostic tool for evaluating existing ones.

Attendee background

Prerequisites: Attendees must have experience in using or preparing use cases, and be familiar with basic use case concepts.


Interactive lectures and hands-on exercises, plus question-and-answer session


Steve Adolph is a senior consultant with WSA Consulting Inc., where he specializes in software process improvement. He has twenty years of industrial experience developing software and managing software development projects in the telecommunications, railway signaling, and graphic arts industry. An exciting and enthusiastic speaker, Mr. Adolph has spoken at numerous seminars and workshops on software project management, object-oriented analysis and design, and patterns. He is co-author of the book "Patterns for Writing Effective Use Cases."

Paul Bramble is a Senior Software Engineer with Emperative, Inc., specializing in object-oriented software development and distributed systems. He has been developing software in the telecommunication, avionics, and computer manufacturing industries for over 20 years. Paul has been using and researching use cases since 1994, and co-authored the book "Patterns for Writing Effective Use Cases." He has given several presentations on use cases at the industrial and university levels, including at OOPSLA events.