Use Case Template

Editors Note: This Use Case Template is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. We welcome ideas and suggestions for other Template Tuesday materials.

Template TuesdayDefinition:

Uses Cases are primarily textual explanations of how a user will interact with a system or product to achieve a specific goal. Use cases build context around the interactions of the system and the users, by describing what the user wants to do, without specifying the technical aspects of how to do it. Use cases may incorporate diagrams or wireframes of the interactions to provide a clearer picture of the conditions that impact the outcomes of these interactions.

Purpose:

Use cases are most often used in connection with development of software application, but could be used to develop any product or service, since they describe user goals and the interactions required to achieve them. Use cases inform the business requirements and technical specifications of the system (which describe the how of achieving user goals), and often underlie the strategy for providing user support, such as documentation, self-help or training.

Relevance:

Development projects are established to accomplish a set of business objectives (e.g. meeting a need in the marketplace), to which a product or service is integral. The use case links user needs and wants to the product and provides the roadmap for building the product. Business analysts typically collect feedback from users (or representatives of users) before drafting use cases. Use cases document all the possible ways the user can interact with the product, along with conditions and barriers that affect the outcomes of those interactions. The development team can then fully flesh out the best ways to reach those outcomes in technical and design specifications.

Using the Template:

  1. Download the Use Case Template in MS Word.
  2. Review existing development project documentation to understand the overall objectives of the product
  3. Organize and conduct initial requirements gathering meetings with existing/prospective users of the product.
  4. Capture feedback into a list of user goals.
  5. Complete the use case template by creating a use case for each of the user goals.
  6. Validate the information with subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders.
  7. Sent the draft for review.
  8. Edit based on feedback.
  9. Obtain approval of use cases from project stakeholders
  10. Use the approved use cases to create additional development documentation such as business requirements documents and technical specifications.

Do you have other templates that work well for the products or services you support?  Feel free to contact us and submit your templates. We’ll provide credit to you for assisting the TechWhirl community and contributing to Template Tuesdays.

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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