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Writing Effective Use Cases

Writing Effective Use Cases
Author: Alistair Cockburn
ISBN 13: 9780201702255
ISBN 10: 201702258
Edition: 1
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
Publication Date: 2000-10-15
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
List Price: $56.99

Writing use cases as a means of capturing the behavioral requirements of software systems and business processes is a practice that is quickly gaining popularity. Use cases provide a beneficial means of project planning because they clearly show how people will ultimately use the system being designed. On the surface, use cases appear to be a straightforward and simple concept. Faced with the task of writing a set of use cases, however, practitioners must ask: "How exactly am I supposed to write use cases?" Because use cases are essentially prose essays, this question is not easily answered, and as a result, the task can become formidable.

In Writing Effective Use Cases, object technology expert Alistair Cockburn presents an up-to-date, practical guide to use case writing. The author borrows from his extensive experience in this realm, and expands on the classic treatments of use cases to provide software developers with a "nuts-and-bolts" tutorial for writing use cases. The book thoroughly covers introductory, intermediate, and advanced concepts, and is, therefore, appropriate for all knowledge levels. Illustrative writing examples of both good and bad use cases reinforce the author's instructions. In addition, the book contains helpful learning exercises—with answers—to illuminate the most important points.

Highlights of the book include:

  • A thorough discussion of the key elements of use cases—actors, stakeholders, design scope, scenarios, and more
  • A use case style guide with action steps and suggested formats
  • An extensive list of time-saving use case writing tips
  • A helpful presentation of use case templates, with commentary on when and where they should be employed
  • A proven methodology for taking advantage of use cases

With this book as your guide, you will learn the essential elements of use case writing, improve your use case writing skills, and be well on your way to employing use cases effectively for your next development project.


A specialist in object technology presents software developers with a current guide to writing use cases as a means of capturing the behavioral requirements of software systems and business practices. Covers key elements of use cases, a style guide with suggested formats, a list of time-saving writing tips, a set of use case templates with commentary, and learning exercises with answers to clarify important points. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)